SALEM, Ore. (AP/KOIN) — Republican voters in Oregon’s vast 2nd Congressional District on Tuesday elected a former state senator to be their candidate to replace Rep. Greg Walden, who didn’t run for a 12th term in the conservative region covering the rural eastern and central part of the state.
Cliff Bentz bested former state legislators Knute Buehler and Jason Atkinson. Buehler also ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018 as the GOP nominee. Bentz will have the advantage in the November election in the predominantly Republican part of the state. His opponent is unclear with a victor not yet declared on the Democratic side.
There are four Democrats seeking the nomination: John Holm, Nick Heuertz, Alex Spencer and Chris Vaughn.
The other congressional districts are also on the ballot, but the incumbent Democrats — Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader — are all running again. Their Republican opponents will be chosen Tuesday and will face the incumbent in November.
Bonamici took 84.78% of the primary vote in early returns and will face either Christopher Christensen or Armidia Murray. Christensen had 56.85% of the Republican vote in early returns in District 1
Blumenauer, will face Joanna Harbour in District 3, told KOIN 6 News that he felt “very good” about Tuesday night’s results, despite the pandemic hurdle.
“It was a topsy-turvy period, but I felt good about the effort, I am extraordinarily gratified by the vote of confidence,” he said.
Blumenauer also called Oregon “a pioneer” as other states consider voting by mail for the general election in November.
“My very first election was a vote-by-mail election that had never happened before, and for 25 years, Oregonians have never had to worry about hanging chads, they have 440 hours to make their decisions, good security, not having problems with unauthorized people, having that paper trail,” he said.
DeFazio’s opponent in District 4 is likely to be Alek Skarlatos, who helped stop a terrorist attack on a Paris train in 2015. Skarlatos has 86.41% of the Republican vote in the early returns.
And in District 5, Schrader will face either Amy Ryan Courser or Shane Dinkel. Early Wednesday morning, Courser has 52.55% of the Republican vote.
One of Oregon’s senators is also up for re-election in 2020. Jeff Merkley’s Republican opponent will be Jo Rae Perkins.