NRCC - National Republican Congressional Committee

05/24/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/24/2024 09:17

New: Janelle Bynum endorsed, fundraised for ousted Portland-area Soros DA Mike Schmidt

New: Janelle Bynum endorsed, fundraised for ousted Portland-area Soros DA Mike Schmidt

May 24, 2024

Janelle Bynum endorsed, bankrolled and hosted a fundraiser for ousted Portland-area District Attorney Mike Schmidt, a new story reveals.

Voters fired Schmidt in Tuesday's election. Schmidt is a far-left, Soros-funded DA who alongside Bynum, pushed extreme soft-on-crime policies and backed Measure 110 decriminalizing fentanyl.

"The deadly combination of Janelle Bynum's pro-criminal policies and Mike Schmidt's refusal to prosecute them fueled an unprecedented surge in addiction, homelessness and crime across Oregon. Schmidt's ouster shows Oregonians are fed up with Bynum's brand of soft-on-crime extremism." - NRCC Spokesperson Ben Petersen

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Dem Nominee for Oregon House Seat Praised, Fundraised for Ousted Portland DA Mike Schmidt in 2020
National Review
Audrey Fahlberg and James Lynch

Earlier this week, D.C. Democrats breathed a sigh of relief when Oregon's Fifth District Democratic primary voters nominated state Representative Janelle Bynum, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's preferred candidate to take on Portland-area GOP Representative Lori Chavez-DeRemer in November.

But as she tries to shore up support from independents and suburban voters over the next few months, Bynum may struggle to answer questions about her approach to crime: including her 2020 endorsement of Oregon's since-repealed drug decriminalization ballot measure, and her prior fundraising support for newly ousted Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt.

Bynum wasn't listed on the endorsement section of Schmidt's campaign website this cycle as she was in 2020. Back then, Bynum lavished praise on Schmidt, a progressive former assistant district attorney who rose to prominence during the summer of George Floyd protests. The progressive criminal-justice policies that rocketed him to victory as Portland's top prosecutor in 2020 with more than three-quarters of the vote led to his undoing earlier this week when his constituents voted to replace him with his former deputy amid backlash to crime, homelessness, and the city's open-air drug crisis.

Bynum had high hopes for Schmidt when he first ran for district attorney, endorsing his campaign and characterizing him during a virtual fundraiser in April 2020 as a candidate who "wants to see change" and who is "not interested in the status quo."

"He's pushing the boundaries and over the time I've gotten to know him he's been a real champion for change, dramatic change, positive change in our system," Bynum said at the time. "He truly believes that Oregonians deserve better than what we're getting now and this will benefit our families far and wide."

Following the virtual fundraiser, Bynum's campaign donated $250 to Schmidt's district attorney campaign, state records show.

A spokesperson for Bynum did not respond to a press inquiry from National Review about her prior support for Schmidt and whether her views about him have changed since 2020.

Schmidt's blowout loss to Republican-turned-independent deputy Nathan Vasquez could serve as a bellwether for suburban voters' feelings about crime and public safety in November in Portland, which is no bastion of conservatism. As Jonathan Martin observed earlier this week in Politico, this is a county "that has not voted Republican for president since 1960."


But as she transitions to the general election, she could face backlash from independent and suburban voters over her evolving views on local drug-decriminalization laws. Leading up to the November 2020 election, for example, Bynum urged her constituents to vote "yes" on Measure 110, a since-repealed Oregon ballot measure that decriminalized drug possession. "Filling out your ballot this weekend?? Lots on the docket this time," she wrote in a Facebook post on October 24, 2020, as the Washington Examiner previously reported.

"Measure 110, Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative: Yes," she wrote at the time, adding: "(But I think we can get better legislation through the legislature. This was a very hard toss up.)"

Read more here.