State Sen. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) today became the first candidate to jump in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who announced his retirement from Congress Monday.
Walden is the lone Republican in the Oregon congressional delegation. And Republicans still hold an eight percentage point advantage among the district’s registered voters.
Bentz has served for a dozen years in the statehouse, first as a state representative, then as a senator.
“The challenges in Washington, D.C., are great,” says Bentz in his campaign announcement. “However, based upon my years of working as a rancher, farmer, attorney, and as member of the Republican party successfully passing legislation in a Legislature controlled by Democrats, I feel confident that I can adequately represent the people of the 2nd Congressional District of Oregon.”
Earlier today, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler, a former state representative, tweeted that he’s considering a run for the seat.
On the Democratic side, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who ran a relatively strong race against Walden and is now running for secretary of state, told WW earlier today she hasn’t ruled out a run.
Bentz was the lead Republican senator negotiating on the climate bill that failed to pass the legislature after Republicans fled to the state to deny Democrats a quorum. During that high-profile walkout, Bentz fled to Idaho, he told the Wall Street Journal at the time.