Even as Gov. Kate Brown Gives Inaugural Address, Likely 2018 Opponent Flexes Financial Muscle

Rep. Knute Buehler has already raised nearly $100,000 this year.

Gov. Kate Brown will give her inaugural address today to the Legislature—but even as she takes office as Oregon's second elected female governor, filings with the Oregon secretary of state suggest that one likely 2018 opponent is already pursuing her.

Brown cruised to an easy victory in November over GOP challenger Dr. Bud Pierce and will now serve out the remainder of the term won by her predecessor, former Gov. John Kitzhaber, who like, Pierce is a physician.

That puts Brown on the ballot again in 2018, where the probability is she'll face yet another doctor, state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend), an orthopedic surgeon.

Brown beat Buehler in the 2012 race for secretary of state by a 51 percent to 43 percent margin (almost the same margin as her 51 percent to 44 percent victory over Pierce this year).

Buehler rebounded from that defeat to win a Bend House seat in 2014 and 2016. To mount an effective challenge in 2018 as governor—a race he is widely expected to enter—Buehler will need to burnish the credentials he built in 2015, when he embarrassed Democrats by passing a bill that allowed women to get prescription birth control without seeing a doctor.

In the past week, Buehler has reported raising nearly $100,000, which is far more than he'd need if he were merely beginning to refill his campaign fund to defend his House seat.

Buehler got $50,000 from James Young, the retired founder of Entek International, a Lebanon, Ore., manufacturing firm; $5,000 from Hayden Watson, a Bend developer; $5,000 from Philip Silver, a Portland businessman; and $5,000 from Lone Rock Timber of Roseburg. Buehler has nearly $232,000 in his campaign account now.

Brown has nearly $1.2 million her campaign account. We'll post her inaugural address when it becomes available.

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