- Knute Buehler
Buehler is an orthopedic surgeon who represented Bend in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019. In 2018, he ran against Kate Brown for governor in the most expensive gubernatorial race in Oregon history, with both sides spending millions on negative ad campaigns that aired throughout the state.
Buehler has a reputation as a fiscal conservative with independent views on social issues like supporting LGBTQ rights and a woman’s right to choose on abortion. During his one term in office, he was a leader in a bipartisan agreement for over-the-counter birth control, and another law that helped people who are terminally ill access experimental treatments. He also voted in favor of clean energy such as solar, wind and biomass while reducing the state’s dependency on coal.
But his newest campaign ad suggests he may be seeking to appeal the 2nd District’s more conservative voters. It is one of the largest districts in the country, covering more ground than any state east of the Mississippi River, and includes Hood River, Bend, Ashland and all of Eastern Oregon. Its voters have traditionally supported Republican candidates, though there are more non-affiliated voters than registered Republicans or Democrats.
“For way too long, powerful special interests in Portland and Washington, D.C. have forced policies that harm hardworking Oregonians, hurt small businesses and threaten our way of life,” Buehler said in campaign ad published on YouTube Dec. 10.
He went on to list his objection to gun control and his opposition to sanctuary cities. (Sanctuary cities—like Portland—generally limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agents to protect immigrants from deportation.)
“Nancy Pelosi and the D.C. liberals are obsessed with partisan impeachment to undo an election,” he says in the ad. “It’s wrong. I oppose impeachment and removing the President from office.”
According to the most recent information from the Oregon Secretary of State, five other Republican candidates are seeking congressional nomination. Both Sen. Cliff Bentz of Ontario and former Sen. Jason Atkinson of Central Point also served on the Oregon Legislature and have filed to run, along with Jeff Smith, a computer programmer from Fairview and Mark Roberts from White City. Another republican in the primary is Kenneth Medenbach who participated in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (east of Burns) occupation in 2016 as part of an armed militia.
So far, three Democrats have also filed including John Holm from Medford, Isabella Tibbetts, a community organizer from Ecuador and Jackson County, and Raz Mason, the executive director of a climate change and extreme weather education foundation from The Dalles.
In the May primary, voters who are registered with either the Democratic or Republican party will be able to vote for the candidates they wish to see represent their party during the November general election. Since Oregon has a "closed primary," only those who are registered with a particular party can vote in that party's primary—though Oregonians can easily change party affiliation by visiting the Oregon Secretary of State's MyVote site.