Perkins drops out of House race, endorses Skarlatos
Senior Staff Writer
Albany Republican Jo Rae Perkins has dropped out of the running for U.S. House District 4 and endorsed Roseburg’s Alek Skarlatos.
Perkins plans to run instead for the Republican nomination to the Senate seat currently held by Jeff Merkley.
In a press release, Perkins said she made her decision to run for Senate based on what she called the “sham impeachment trials” against President Donald Trump.
“While Oregon families are expressing their frustration with job-killing regulations, the price of prescription drug prices, radical policies like the Green New Deal, and national security, Jeff Merkley has been more focused on impeaching the president and political games irrelevant to Oregonians,” Perkins said.
Merkley is running in the Democratic primary against challenger Michael David of Ashland.
Perkins’ competition for the Republican primary now includes Senate candidates Paul Romero of Roseburg and Robert Schwartz of Springfield.
Perkins ran twice unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination to DeFazio’s seat, losing both times to Art Robinson. She is an insurance agent who said she gave up a lucrative career as a financial adviser because she believes she is destined to hold a seat in Congress. In her 2016 run she garnered 32% of the primary vote, and in 2018 she received 21% of the primary vote.
The House District 4 is currently served by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield. With Perkins’ exit from that race, three Republicans are left to battle in the May primary for the right to challenge DeFazio in November. In addition to Skarlatos, they include Robinson, a Cave Junction chemist who has five times won the Republican nomination only to lose to DeFazio in the general election, and Nelson Ijih, a computer scientist and entrepreneur from Eugene. DeFazio also faces primary challenges in his own party from Doyle Canning of Eugene and Cassidy Clausen of Springfield.
Skarlatos is perhaps best known for his role in thwarting a terrorist attempt on a Paris-bound train in 2015.
Skarlatos and two of his friends took action after a gunman armed with an AK-47, a handgun and a box cutter emerged from a train bathroom, then fired shots on the train, which was headed to Paris from Amsterdam.
Since then, Skarlatos has received multiple medals, been awarded the French Legion of Honor and taken third place on the ABC program “Dancing with the Stars.” He played himself in a Clint Eastwood movie about the train incident called “The 15:17 to Paris.”
Skarlatos made an unsuccessful bid for Douglas County commissioner in 2018, losing narrowly to businessman Tom Kress.
In a press release, Skarlatos thanked Perkins for her endorsement.
“I’m honored to be endorsed by Jo Rae Perkins and wish her well as she seeks the Republican Nomination for the U.S. Senate,” he said.