‘I’m Scared She’s Gonna Hit Me’: New Report Is Not Good for Dem Congressional Candidate

‘I’m Scared She’s Gonna Hit Me’: New Report Is Not Good for Dem Congressional Candidate

Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a Democratic candidate in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, allegedly physically assaulted her campaign driver during her last bid for Congress, multiple former campaign workers told a local news outlet.

McLeod-Skinner denied the allegations and characterized them as a political smear attempt.

The former staffers are accusing McLeod-Skinner of physically assaulting her driver on at least two occasions during the 2022 election when the campaign began to fall apart in October, Willamette Week reported.

The staffers also claimed that she became irate with her staff and even refused to speak with her campaign manager just weeks before the election, according to the report.

The news outlet reported it had reviewed text messages between a campaign staffer and the driver dated Nov. 2, 2022, in which the driver said, “I’m scared she’s gonna hit me.”

“She’s punched me a few times like while I was driving and it wasn’t in malice just to like alert me to a car or something but now it’s different,” the driver’s text exchange reportedly said.

“A candidate’s driver, who often doubles as a personal assistant, is a shadow to the candidate,” Willamette Week explained. “They share housing while on the road. They share meals. They spend hours, side by side, on long car rides. It’s an unconventional relationship, and the driver has a level of access to the candidate that few others on the campaign have.”

The driver, a man in his 20s who asked for anonymity, confirmed the content of the texts to the Willamette Week reporter but did not agree to be interviewed on the record.

One staffer shared notes with the Willamette Week reporter that were taken during a phone call, with the driver expressing concern about McLeod-Skinner. The notes read, “[The driver] called me to say …‘ She told me she despises me,’ said ‘I’m worried Jamie is going to hit me’ and that on several occasions in the past she had struck him while driving.”

Chris Pair, who was described as a senior adviser to McLeod-Skinner at the time the alleged hitting incidents took place in 2022, talked with the news outlet about it.

“It doesn’t matter what precipitated a physical threat,” he said. “The mere fact that someone would ever be made to feel that way by a candidate disqualifies them to represent anyone as an elected official.”

Pair said he heard about the driver’s fearful texts on Nov. 3, 2022, and he arranged to have the driver removed from the campaign donor’s house where he and the candidate had been staying for the night.

McLeod-Skinner’s lesbian partner released a statement saying that it was the other way around, that it was McLeod-Skinner who was afraid of the driver, Willamette Week reported.

The driver “repeatedly lied to Jamie and other staff, and I know through real-time accounts that he put Jamie in dangerous situations while driving,” Cass McLeod-Skinner claimed in the statement.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner denied the driver’s allegations and accused her opponent of attempting to sabotage her campaign because she is leading in the polls.

In a statement shared with The Western Journal, McLeod-Skinner said, “to suggest that I would ever physically hit or harm a staffer is absolutely outrageous and categorically false, and unfortunately is motivated and orchestrated by my opponent Janelle Bynum, her staff, and her allies, including Chris Pair, who is her donor and the only named source in this story.”

The candidate’s statement continued, “Janelle Bynum’s campaign has found no other way to counter my rock-solid lead and support in this Democratic primary, and they have resorted to these lies and dramatic exaggerations to try and take me down. It is shameful to resort to denigrating someone’s character when you cannot gain traction with voters.”

The statement also included a quote from a campaign photographer who was also present during most interactions with the candidate during the period in question, who said, “at no time during any interaction with [the driver] did he express that he had any fear of Jamie, that Jamie had ever made any threats or yelled at him, or that Jamie had ever been physically abusive.”

McLeod-Skinner’s statement also said Pair “was not a senior staffer to Jamie’s [2022] campaign” and that he “had no day-to-day knowledge of this campaign … As such, Chris Pair would not have been privy to any such alleged incident.”

Another Oregon news outlet reported that McLeod-Skinner has been accused of being verbally abusive to her staffers.

Five former campaign workers told the Oregon Capital Chronicle that McLeod-Skinner mistreated her staff, frequently forcing them to attend meetings lasting several hours, texting them at all hours of the night, yelling at them and berating them.

McLeod-Skinner declined to be interviewed for the Capital Chronicle story but denied being abusive, saying “she always tried to create a positive work environment.”

She defeated incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader in the 2022 primary but lost in the general election to Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer.

McLeod-Skinner is now making her third bid for a congressional seat.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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