McDonald’s franchise owner who just won key race may determine who controls Congress

A McDonald’s franchise owner has won a key race that could ultimately determine who controls Congress in November.

Oregon state Rep. Janelle Bynum, a McDonald’s franchise owner, won the Democrat primary election for Oregon’s 5th congressional district this Tuesday, meaning she’s now poised to go up against incumbent Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a Republican, come November.

To win the primary, Bynum defeated Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who herself lost the general race to Chavez-DeRemer in the 2022 elections.

“Some top Democrats believe Bynum, who represents Portland’s southeast suburbs in the state House, is more likely to win in a general election [than McLeod-Skinner],” according to Fox News.

Bynum has been endorsed by Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek and at least three U.S. House Democrats.

The race between her and Chavez-DeRemer is expected to be the most competitive in the country, as its outcome could affect whether Republicans or Democrats ultimately control Congress.

“This is one of the big swing districts nationally that both parties are really looking for to hold on to, or recapture, the House,” Ben Gaskins,  an associate professor of political science at Lewis & Clark College, reportedly said about the matter.

“I think that the big question is to what degree are the Democratic voters really going to prioritize electability?” he added.

The good news about Bynum’s primary victory is that she’s considered to be part of the “establishment,” whereas McLeod-Skinner had been considered part of the “progressive” movement.

“In this year’s race, [McLeod Skinner] had the backing of progressive groups, including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee,” according to CNN. “In the final weeks of the campaign, she was also supported on air by a group called Health Equity Now, which touted her support for ‘Medicare for All.'”

But even with all this backing, the primary was contentious at times for McLeod-Skinner because her former aides accused her of fostering a hostile work environment.

“From campaign to campaign, employees described feeling uncomfortable around McLeod-Skinner and scared of interacting with her,” the Oregon Capitol Chronicle reported. “She yelled at employees and spoke sarcastically to them, and they said she made them feel worthless. One employee even described suffering severe depression for months after working for McLeod-Skinner.”

“In one instance, former staff said she told an employee that a former opponent would have lost by 20 points if that employee had worked on the opponent’s campaign. McLeod-Skinner’s campaign said in a response to a fact-checking email that she had no recollection of that incident,” the Chronicle’s report continues.

McLeod-Skinner also allegedly ignored new employees and caused some employees to suffer from “severe physical stress” and “stomachaches” because of how she treated them.

“Employees said those who worked most closely with McLeod-Skinner were the most stressed,” the Chronicle notes. “One former employee recalled having to black out 30 minutes after each senior staff meeting to recover from McLeod-Skinner’s cutting comments.

Now, just because Bynum is an establishment Democrat versus a “progressive” one doesn’t mean she’s any less of a threat to Republicans.

As a member of Oregon’s state House of Representatives, she’s pushed multiple police “reform” bills that limit arrests for so-called “low-level” crimes like thefts involving less than $100.

But it gets worse. According to local station KATU, in 2021 she proposed legislation to allow convicted felons to work in schools as mentors.

Indeed, Bynum is such a threat to Republicans and the everyday voters they represent that the National Republican Congressional Committee has put out a statement blasting her.

“D.C. Democrats failed to vet Janelle ‘Prison Break’ Bynum, the most extreme candidate in this primary, and will now suffer the consequences when Oregonians reject this enemy of public safety,” the statement reads.

“In Salem, Prison Break Bynum built an extensive record as an extremist hellbent on emptying prisons, decriminalizing fentanyl and unleashing criminals,” it continues.

Vivek Saxena

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