Freshman Congresswoman Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon is offering a playbook for swing district Republicans on how to win reelection in 2024. Chavez-DeRemer represents the southern Portland suburbs and central Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, which is one of 18 districts that President Joe Biden would have won in 2020 against former President Donald Trump. These districts are crucial to the Democrats’ efforts to overturn the Republican majority in the House.
Chavez-DeRemer’s focus on local issues has been key to her success in a swing district. She believes that her hyperlocal approach resonates with everyday Oregonians who are concerned about the Biden administration’s policies and feel squeezed financially. One of the biggest concerns in her district is the fentanyl crisis exacerbated by a porous U.S.-Mexico border and a local measure, Measure 110, that decriminalized minor drug possession in Oregon. Chavez-DeRemer is using her position in Congress to bring attention to these issues and advocate for change at the state level.
As a congresswoman in a swing seat, Chavez-DeRemer sees herself as a bridge between her constituents and the leaders in her state. She has been writing letters to state leaders, urging them to reevaluate drug laws and parole policies that she believes are detrimental to her district. Her goal is to be an extension of her constituents’ fight for what they believe is not going well in their communities.
While Chavez-DeRemer positions herself as a moderate, Democrats are skeptical of her claims. They argue that she has enabled the far-right fringes of her party and has voted to restrict women’s access to reproductive care. Democrats believe that she will struggle to convince voters that she has been anything more than a self-serving Republican enabler in Washington, D.C.
Chavez-DeRemer’s first reelection bid in 2024 will be challenging. Oregon is a reliably Democratic state in presidential politics, and voter participation is likely to increase in a national election. The race may depend on whom the Democrats nominate to challenge Chavez-DeRemer. The 5th District, which now includes both liberal suburbs and conservative counties, will be a battleground. Chavez-DeRemer’s previous opponent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, may not be the best choice for Democrats in this swing district. State Rep. Janelle Bynum, who has defeated Chavez-DeRemer twice in state legislative races, could be a tougher opponent for the incumbent congresswoman.
In summary, Congresswoman Lori Chavez-DeRemer offers a playbook for swing district Republicans on how to win reelection in 2024. Her hyperlocal focus and attention to the concerns of everyday Oregonians have been key to her success. However, she will face challenges in her first reelection bid, particularly in a district that has become a battleground for Democrats and Republicans. The race will likely be influenced by the 2024 presidential contest and who the Democrats nominate to challenge Chavez-DeRemer.