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McLeod-Skinner campaign manager departs after 3 months

The former campaign manager for Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the Democrat running in the competitive primary in Oregon’s toss-up 5th District, left his role in March after less than three months in the job.

Steve Voltaire joined McLeod-Skinner’s team as campaign manager in late December and started a new role on March 13 as a campaign services director for Future PAC — the organization supporting Oregon Democrats in the state House.

Voltaire told us he remains “steadfastly supportive of the Jamie campaign and its mission” and said he left the job as part of his “health journey.”

“Steve was doing great work, and when he approached me with his health concerns, my first concern was for his well-being. I extended an offer of medical leave, which he accepted,” McLeod-Skinner told us in a statement. “FuturePAC made a great hire, and I wish them and Steve all the best.”

Voltaire isn’t accusing McLeod-Skinner of any improper treatment, attributing his departure to personal health reasons.

The backstory: The staffing update is the latest development in what’s perhaps the most interesting Democratic primary of the cycle. McLeod-Skinner advanced to the general in 2022 by mounting a successful progressive primary challenge to moderate former Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.).

Now McLeod-Skinner — the former city manager of two Oregon locales — is running again. But the DCCC and many other national Democratic groups are backing her primary opponent, state Rep. Janelle Bynum, this time around.

Voltaire was McLeod-Skinner’s first campaign manager this cycle, meaning the position was vacant from her launch in July 2023 until December 2023.

McLeod-Skinner, who lost to now-Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Ore.) by two points in one of the closest House races of 2022, has a history of allegations of mistreating staff.

In October 2023, the Oregon Capital Chronicle reported that five former employees “described her as a nightmarish boss, who yelled at and berated her staff.” And in January, three former staffers alleged to the Willamette Week that McLeod-Skinner “twice made physical contact with her campaign driver.”

McLeod-Skinner’s campaign has vigorously denied all the charges made by former staffers.

The matchup between McLeod-Skinner and Bynum is a rare instance of a competitive primary in a race the DCCC is targeting as a top flip opportunity. McLeod-Skinner has accused “outside power brokers and D.C. insiders” of meddling in the primary to boost Bynum.

— Max Cohen

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