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: 398262

Reported Deaths: 5318
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61268858
Washington42807409
Marion40454521
Clackamas33383393
Lane30600364
Jackson25322365
Deschutes24107198
Umatilla15191184
Linn15044187
Douglas13690298
Josephine10414250
Yamhill9934145
Klamath9149153
Polk8409104
Benton626040
Malheur594693
Coos5878109
Columbia443156
Jefferson427868
Lincoln369955
Crook346858
Union342857
Wasco321147
Clatsop266835
Baker223434
Tillamook221447
Hood River218937
Morrow199425
Curry194639
Harney122333
Grant109216
Lake106519
Wallowa76513
Sherman1953
Gilliam1864
Wheeler1201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5138995

Reported Deaths: 75080
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles154020027275
San Diego4135824357
Riverside3920205397
San Bernardino3791076007
Orange3373285796
Sacramento1703432467
Kern1593361855
Fresno1584502289
Santa Clara1540471941
Alameda1264451513
San Joaquin1085901839
Ventura1051271194
Contra Costa1048151058
Stanislaus924201441
Tulare871361103
San Francisco57584676
San Mateo56974631
Monterey53040631
Solano48111365
Santa Barbara47954556
Merced45572675
Sonoma43725414
Placer42858479
Imperial39228778
Kings35628372
San Luis Obispo31844361
Madera26567315
Shasta26397465
Butte25731324
Santa Cruz22609224
Yolo21840263
Marin18796249
El Dorado18569170
Sutter14710186
Napa13528107
Yuba1087191
Humboldt10391120
Tehama10339133
Nevada10218105
Mendocino877599
Lassen801259
San Benito796780
Tuolumne785191
Lake7079113
Amador584969
Siskiyou481057
Glenn460536
Calaveras451088
Del Norte381942
Colusa330221
Inyo260246
Plumas196912
Mono19414
Mariposa164018
Trinity102417
Modoc7966
Sierra2220
Alpine1080
Unassigned840
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