Three people have been nominated to fill the state Senate vacancy left by the departure of Sen. Ted Ferrioli.
At a special nominating convention held by the Oregon Republican Party Dec. 2 in John Day, Republican precinct committee persons from Senate District 30 nominated the candidates to be considered by Baker, Deschutes, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur, Wasco and Wheeler county commissioners, according to a press release.
The nominees are Rep. Cliff Bentz, a rancher, farmer, attorney and current state House representative for District 60 from Ontario; Suzan Ellis Jones, a rancher and Baker County Republican Party chair from Bridgeport; and Dr. Eric Wattenburg, a family, emergency and urgent care doctor, small business owner and medical radio show host from Bend.
Under state law, the county commissioners from each county of District 30 must select by Dec. 22 from one of the three Republican candidates nominated. Commissioners are expected to announce soon when and where they will interview the nominees, after which they will cast their weighted votes according to the number of voters from each of their counties registered within the boundaries of District 30.
The nominee selected by commissioners will officially take office before the next Oregon Legislature session starting Feb. 1.
Ferrioli officially resigned from office Nov. 22 to begin his appointment as a member of the Northwest Power and Conservation Planning Council, which oversees electrical energy co-operatives, public utility districts and hydroelectric generation facilities, along with planning, conservation and management of other renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and geothermal.