Oregon state Sen. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, announced last week that he will run for the seat in Congress being vacated by retiring Republican Rep. Greg Walden.

Walden, who was first elected to Congress in 1998, announced Oct. 28 that he would not run for re-election in 2020.

Bentz said in a news release that he was surprised to learn that Walden would not continue in the position.

“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 State Senate as the Republican state senator for District 30. Bentz said that experience has been critical in preparing him to represent the people in the state’s 2nd Congressional District — a sprawling district that covers much if Central, Southern and Eastern Oregon.

“The challenges in Washington, D.C., are great,” he said. “However, based upon my years of working as a rancher, farmer, attorney, and as a 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 also considering running for Walden’s seat.

Buehler ran for governor in 2018 but was defeated by Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat.

With the Senate District 30 seat open, Rep. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, announced on Oct. 31 that he will run for the seat being vacated by Bentz in the Oregon Senate.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve the people of Senate District 30,” Findley said. “I have worked tirelessly to represent the voice of Eastern Oregonians since I have been in the legislature, and I believe that I am the right person to continue Senator Bentz’s work in the state.”

Findley has been a member of the Oregon House of Representatives since 2018, when he ran unopposed to fill Bentz’s seat when Bentz moved to the Senate to replace Ted Ferrioli.

Findley also announced that his district office in Vale has been reestablished and will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at 252 B St. W., Vale. His new employee, Siera Watson, will manage the office. The phone number is 541-473-4029.

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