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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: 154878

Reported Deaths: 2206
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31824528
Washington21099212
Marion18373285
Clackamas13328175
Lane10200126
Jackson8315111
Umatilla763982
Deschutes593459
Yamhill376764
Linn357756
Malheur334458
Polk303942
Klamath278455
Douglas244754
Josephine232849
Benton232516
Jefferson195128
Coos144019
Union128119
Columbia124821
Wasco122026
Lincoln112820
Hood River106429
Morrow104614
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6507
Curry4246
Tillamook4142
Lake3746
Harney2736
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3559311

Reported Deaths: 51794
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118923221241
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2860772783
Orange2607213982
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1102371777
Kern102627811
Fresno950151422
Sacramento929611464
Alameda802791241
Ventura77395834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55887946
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38872515
San Francisco34138398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano30024164
Merced28915395
Sonoma28004298
Imperial26855589
Kings21951218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15414209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12787185
Shasta10969174
Butte10922160
El Dorado9095100
Napa899869
Sutter884597
San Benito575259
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada394074
Mendocino379643
Amador344841
Humboldt318033
Lake314140
Glenn221923
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
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Feels Like: 45°
Brookings
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Feels Like: 50°
Medford
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Hi: 25° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 45°
Medford
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48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 45°
Klamath Falls
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Hi: 37° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 29°
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