After losing to incumbent Secretary of State Kate Brown
in 2012, Dr. Knute Buehler
, a Bend orthopedic surgeon, might have done what other recent state-wide GOP candidates such as former Portland Trail Blazer Chris Dudley
have done—abandoned politics. That would be understandable.
The GOP has not held the Oregon governor's office since 1987, one of the longest dry spells in the nation. The GOP has not held a state-wide office in Oregon since U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith
(R-Pendleton) lost to U.S Sen. Jeff Merkley
(D-Portland) in 2008.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden
(R-Hood River), is the only Republican in Oregon's congressional delegation and he's shown little interest in seeking state-wide office.
But Buehler is back this year, though he has set his sights lower. He's
seeking the House District 54 seat in Bend being by vacated by state
Rep. Jason Conger
. Democrats hold about a 2,000 voter registration
edge in the district; Buehler will run against Democrat Craig Wilhelm.
On Feb. 23, Buehler disclosed a $35,000
contribution from James Young, the CEO of Entek Manufacturing of Lebanon,
That is the largest single contribution an individual Oregon candidate has received this year (Gov. John Kitzhaber
has gotten four $25,000 checks and one for $25,100 from the Greenbrier Companies).
It's rare to see a contribution anywhere near as big as $35,000 in a House race.
Buehler has raised $109,000
since announcing his House run; Wilhelm has raised just $9,000 so far.