Lori Chavez-DeRemer announced her bid to unseat Democrat Rep. Shemia Fagan

HOUSE REPUBLICANS - Lori Chavez-DeRemer, Happy Valley mayor and candidate for House District 51Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer has announced her bid to unseat Democrat Rep. Shemia Fagan in House District 51.

The moderate Republican and first woman to be elected as Happy Valley's mayor launched her District 51 campaign Wednesday with endorsements from the Happy Valley City Council and local businesses, according to a news release.

“For more than 15 years, my family and I have been fortunate enough to call Happy Valley and Clackamas County our home,” DeRemer said in a statement. “As our community begins to face new challenges, I believe we need leaders at the state level who will put the priorities of House District 51 above all else. I’m running for state representative because I want to ensure that our community continues to be a place where people feel safe, where children have access to an exceptional education system, and where working families have the opportunity to thrive.”

House District 51 is a major swing district, targeted by both Republicans and Democrats, said Jim Moore, a politics professor at Pacific University and director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation.

Fagan, a business attorney, won reelection to the district in 2014 with just 52 percent of the vote and invested several hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to seize her victory, Moore said.

"The pattern suggests that she has the advantage all incumbents have - and it will be tough to beat that regardless of her Republican challenger," Moore said. "But Fagan's margins are just narrow enough that the Republicans will have hope of winning."

He projects the race will garner $1 million in campaign contributions.

"It could approach $1.5 million if the Republicans get enthusiastic," Moore said.

DeRemer was first elected to public office in 2004, when she won a seat on the Happy Valley City Council, rising to the council's president in 2007. She won election as Happy Valley's mayor in 2010, becoming the first woman in city history to serve in the position. She was re-elected in 2014.

DeRemer serves on the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation for Region 1 Area Commission on Transportation representing Clackamas County. She also serves on the Institute of Metropolitan Studies Board through Portland State University and is one of 12 directors for the League of Oregon Cities.

House District 51 encompasses the cities of Happy Valley, Damascus and Boring in Clackamas County, Gresham in Multnomah County and unincorporated parts of those two counties, including East Portland.

By Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau Reporter
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