Over the past week, community conversations inside Rep. Cliff Bentz's district have centered around the question, "Did Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) fail Oregonians when he voted against the certification of Pennsylvania's electoral votes?"
Yes, he most certainly did.
It was enough for us to answer that question, knowing that Bentz—our new representative in the 2nd Congressional District, who himself was elected in this same election cycle that far too many Republicans decry as "fraudulent" and "suspect"—had decided to play along in this political game that now has deadly ends in the United States Capitol. But that is not the only reason for us to give a big fat "boot" to Bentz after his first week in Washington, D.C.
In a report in the Malheur Enterprise, titled, "Bentz's effort to dump one state's presidential results rested on 10,000 votes never counted," Bentz said his decision to object to Pennsylvania's votes rested on a concern about some 9,428 mail-in votes that were postmarked by Election Day but were received in the days following. Because the issue of these ballots was so contentious, Pennsylvania did not include them in the count that it ultimately sent to Congress, and Biden still won that state by roughly 80,000 votes.
"Bentz said in the interview that he wasn't aware the votes hadn't been included in Pennsylvania's totals. He acknowledged that had he been successful in his challenge, his questioning of about 10,000 uncounted ballots would have overturned the results of voting by nearly 7 million people," the Enterprise reported. Bentz countered by saying his judgment was that Pennsylvania had violated the Constitution.
Bentz's reasoning for taking a stand against the will of the people was based on incomplete information—based on an objection to some nearly 10,000 votes that were set aside anyway—and ultimately in opposition to the findings of elections officials in every state, further fortified by the 59 of 60 election-related cases the president and his lackeys lost in state courts.
Should we chalk this up to our new member of Congress' freshman-legislator ignorance? Or can we attribute it to a freshman Republican trapped in a party hell-bent on stoking fear and misinformation, to the point of leaving out crucial details during their pre-voting deliberations on Jan. 6? Either way, this is not the leadership from elected officials that Oregonians deserve.
We believe that the ignorance Bentz claims could very well be feigned. We also believe Republican party leaders, ahead of Wednesday's deadly violence, were so emboldened by the support they were receiving about their baseless and dangerous assertions of voter fraud that they thought it perfectly OK to gloss over the important detail about Pennsylvania's contentious votes being set aside to preserve overall voter integrity.
While we hardly find occasion to give nods to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, we find it telling that even he—who could earn the title of Obstructionist in Chief for his work —could not bring himself to take a stand against a legal, free and fair election.
Bentz, who continued on the path of sowing uncertainty about our electoral process, failed Oregonians on Jan. 6. In addition to the ire of his constituents, Bentz may now face the wrath of a corporate America, where more companies are vowing to withhold campaign contributions to objectors as the days go on.
It's no longer a question. Cliff Bentz failed Oregon.