SALEM — Republican Knute Buehler, who unsuccessfully ran for Oregon governor in 2018, announced his candidacy Tuesday for a congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Greg Walden.
In a video, Buehler criticized what he called Portland liberals and elites in Washington D.C. He said he supports gun rights and opposes higher taxes and sanctuary cities.
Buehler’s stiffest competition for the Republican nomination appears to be state Sen. Cliff Bentz and former state legislator Jason Atkinson.
Buehler, a Roseburg High School graduate, aligned himself with President Donald Trump, saying Democrats in Congress are obsessed with impeaching Trump, which he opposes.
Walden, the lone Republican in the state’s congressional delegation, recently announced he won’t seek reelection to a 12th term.
Jamie McLeod-Skinner ran against Walden in 2018 and fared better than any other Democratic candidate in previous elections. But the district appears firmly in Republican hands, and Democrats have not yet fielded a strong challenger for 2020.
Far from the liberal Portland metro area, the district voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016. Buehler’s video featured Trump at campaign rallies with “Make America Great Again” posters, and footage of Trump that appeared to be at a border wall.
“I’ll lead to make sure our borders are secure,” Buehler said.
Also among five other Republicans running is Kenneth Medenbach, who joined the occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon in 2016.
Three Democrats, none of whom have held political office, have said they are running.
The 2nd Congressional District covers eastern and central Oregon and parts of the southwest.