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Grants Pass senator steps down as Oregon Senate Republican leader

Sen. Herman Baertschiger Jr. is not running for re-election in 2020, prompting the selection of a new leader for Republicans in the Oregon Senate.

Posted: Apr 24, 2020 10:40 AM
Updated: Apr 24, 2020 11:42 AM

SALEM, Ore. — The southern Oregon lawmaker who led Senate Republicans through two contentious legislative sessions has now been replaced as leader of the caucus, according to a statement from Oregon Senate Republicans.

Senator Herman Baertschiger Jr., R-Grants Pass, announced in early March that he would not run for re-election in 2020. He has served as the senator for Oregon's District 2 since 2012, rising to minority leader for the 2019 session.

District 2 includes Josephine County and the northwestern section of Jackson County; encompassing Grants Pass, Rogue River, Central Point, White City, and Eagle Point. The district has swung Republican for decades, and Baertschiger ran unopposed in 2016.

Both the 2019 and 2020 legislative sessions saw Baertschiger lead Senate Republicans on a walk-out to deny the majority Democrats a quorum — first for the Student Success Act and its accompanying corporate activity tax, then for the first iteration of a cap-and-trade bill, and again in the most recent session for the new version of cap-and-trade.

The first walk-out won concessions from Democrats on other bills, though it failed to kill the Student Success Act. The second walk-out ended with Democrats conceding that they did not have the votes to pass cap-and-trade. The third ended at an impasse with Democrats unceremoniously wrapping up the legislative session as Republicans continued to shun the legislature.


RELATED: Governor Brown signs executive order directing Oregon agencies to enforce strict carbon goals


Most recently, Baertschiger led Senate Republicans in urging Governor Brown to lift coronavirus restrictions on rural Oregon counties that have seen fewer cases.

According to Senate Republicans, Sen. Baertschiger stepped down as leader of the caucus, allowing them to elect Senator Fred Girod, R-Stayton, as the new minority leader.

"Fred is our senior Senator and will represent us well," said Senator Baertschiger, Jr. “He has my full support.”

Girod's District 9 includes portions of Clackamas, Linn, and Marion counties. He has been in the Oregon legislature for 15 years, alongside his dental practice the caucus said, citing his experience in small business as important to the current challenge posed by COVID-19.

“I am grateful for Senator Baertschiger’s hard work and look forward to leading not just the Senate Republicans, but Republicans throughout this beautiful state,” said Girod in a statement. “I am excited to work alongside the House Republicans at this critical time in Oregon’s history.”

“Senator Baertschiger has served his constituents and Oregonians well as the leader of the Senate Republican Caucus and I have enjoyed working together on issues our constituents care deeply about," said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby. "Senator Girod brings his years of experience in the Oregon Legislature to his new role as Senate Republican Leader and I look forward to partnering with him for the benefit of all Oregonians."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 78160

Reported Deaths: 953
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah18149245
Washington10929103
Marion9634147
Clackamas672781
Lane450747
Umatilla446850
Jackson401737
Deschutes251715
Malheur245945
Yamhill179717
Linn160023
Polk133219
Douglas98119
Klamath9265
Jefferson87411
Benton8457
Union8098
Morrow6717
Lincoln66515
Josephine5785
Wasco54319
Columbia5394
Coos4533
Hood River4303
Clatsop3730
Baker2914
Crook2446
Tillamook1470
Curry1462
Lake1431
Grant1381
Harney1041
Wallowa723
Gilliam230
Sherman230
Wheeler60
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1265182

Reported Deaths: 19410
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles4141857740
San Bernardino966571136
Riverside885301444
San Diego846381035
Orange805511578
Kern42614449
Fresno39004488
Sacramento38999586
Santa Clara35945486
Alameda30330520
San Joaquin26432510
Contra Costa24914261
Stanislaus22624430
Tulare21645312
Ventura20604185
Imperial16429356
Monterey15835123
San Francisco15797160
San Mateo14812170
Sonoma12662160
Merced12281182
Santa Barbara11631137
Kings1143489
Solano1095781
Marin7840129
Placer679471
Madera642786
San Luis Obispo634538
Shasta518750
Yolo502081
Santa Cruz463829
Butte419560
Sutter363719
Napa312418
El Dorado25814
Yuba222110
Lassen21823
San Benito196817
Tehama177326
Mendocino163223
Nevada141410
Tuolumne11049
Glenn98910
Lake97120
Humboldt9499
Colusa7476
Siskiyou7373
Amador66616
Mono5503
Calaveras54422
Del Norte3571
Inyo30816
Plumas2300
Trinity1680
Modoc1560
Mariposa1443
Alpine510
Sierra230
Unassigned00
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