Former state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) joined a growing field of candidates seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) in Oregon's physically largest and most conservative congressional district.
"I'm running for Congress—to fight for the people and place I call home," Buehler tweeted. "Right now, we need less politics and more conservative leadership in Congress." The Oregonian first reported his candidacy.
Buehler, an orthopedic surgeon, joins state Sen. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) and former state Sen. Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) in the race to succeed Walden, who is retiring after 11 terms.
Although Buehler is the third man in, he is the best known of the three, having run statewide twice, losing to now-Gov. Kate Brown in the 2012 race for secretary of state and again in last year's governor's race.
In the race for governor, which Brown won by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin, Buehler repeatedly proclaimed that he was pro-choice and distanced himself from President Donald Trump. Both of those tactics make sense in a general election, but in a GOP primary in a heavily Republican district, those positions will give Buehler's opponents material to use against him.
A two-minute video he released today on Twitter includes images of Trump and the requisite grainy images of conservative bugaboos including Portland, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
In a statement, Bentz pledged—without specifics—to let CD2 voters know the distinctions that exist between him and the likely front-runner.
"I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Buehler," Bentz said in a statement. "We worked together in the State Assembly for four years. While we have agreed on many things over the years, we have very different opinions on issues of importance to the citizens of Oregon Congressional District 2."