ONTARIO — Oregon state Sen. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, announced Tuesday that he’s running for the seat in Congress being vacated by retiring Republican Rep. Greg Walden.
Walden, who was first elected to Congress in 1998, announced Monday that he would not run for reelection in 2020.
Bentz said in a news release that he was surprised to learn that Walden would not be running for reelection.
“Congressman Walden has done (and is still doing) a great job as Oregon’s only Republican Congressman,” he said.
Bentz served 10 years in the Oregon House of Representatives as the Republican state representative from District 60, and almost two years in the Oregon Senate as the Republican state senator for District 30. Bentz said that experience was critical in preparing him to represent the people in the state’s 2nd Congressional District, a sprawling district mostly in Central and Eastern Oregon that includes parts of Deschutes and Jefferson counties.
“The challenges in Washington, D.C., are great,” he said. “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.”
Knute Buehler, another high-profile Republican in Oregon and former state lawmaker, tweeted earlier in the day he was considering running for Walden’s seat.
Buehler ran for governor in 2018 but was defeated by Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat.