The state's largest anti-abortion group, Oregon Right to Life, today endorsed Jimmy Crumpacker in the hotly contested Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District.

"Jimmy has demonstrated over the past months that he is the pro-life candidate who will win," Oregon Right to Life said in a statement.

The group's endorsement is highly valuable in the sprawling district, in which Republican voters outnumber Democrats by more than 10 percentage points.

ORTL previously announced it would spend $250,000 to oppose the candidacy of former state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend), perhaps the best-known contender in the race to succeed retiring incumbent Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

Buehler, who ran unsuccessfully against Gov. Kate Brown in the 2012 secretary of state's race and again in the 2018 governor's race, has repeatedly told voters he is pro-choice. His position gave the other two former lawmakers in the race, state Sens. Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) and Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario), hope of getting the ORTL nod, which carries with it a connection to a prodigious list of supporters and fundraising capacity.

Oregon Right to Life executive director Lois Anderson acknowledges that her group's endorsement of Crumpacker, who is so far the leading fundraiser in the race, would disappoint supporters of the other two candidates, who have strong pro-life credentials.

"I know what a difficult decision this will be for many voters, because there is more than one dedicated pro-life candidate," says Anderson. "We must be clear-eyed and focused on what is best for protecting the vulnerable and assuring a pro-life voice and vote in Congress."

So the group decided it had to put all its chips on a single candidate. "Without a show of unity behind one candidate, Buehler will win," the group said.

Crumpacker is certainly a bold choice. As WW has reported, he only recently moved from Portland to Bend and established residency in the district. He has often failed to vote despite claiming strong Second Amendment credentials, and obtained his first-ever Oregon hunting license after shooting a campaign ad in which he touts his pro-gun stance.

In a recent interview on Oregon Public Broadcasting's Think Out Loud, Crumpacker struggled to explain comments on COVID-19 he made in early March. The Madras Pioneer quoted him as saying of the novel coronavirus: "I think this is a creation of trying to sell newspapers."

The Think Out Loud interview is here.