Together from disparate parts
In September, he was one of only 35 Democrats to vote for a measure aimed at ditching water regulations that angered farmers.
It's a typical pattern for Schrader. He may stick with Democrats on a lot of the big votes – Obamacare and the $787 billion stimulus bill, for example – but he's carved out a distinctive record that's helped him survive in Oregon's most politically divided congressional district.
It's left his Republican opponent, Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith, fuming that Schrader is always keeping his eye on election-year politics. Meanwhile, she hopes there's enough anti-incumbent anger to drive voters to her low-budget campaign
The 5th Congressional District was created just 34 years ago and sometimes feels cobbled together from disparate parts.
It includes a sliver of Southeast Portland, most of the population of Clackamas County and a big swath of the Willamette Valley before extending to the coast.
The district has a Democratic registration edge of just 2 percentage points. Republicans nationally invested heavily in the district trying to unseat Schrader in 2010 but fell 10 points short. Since then, it's been hard for GOP candidates to raise money against Schrader.