BEND, Ore. — Former Oregon state representative and gubernatorial challenger Dr. Knute Buehler is considering whether to run for U.S. Representative Greg Walden's seat in 2020, according to a statement from his team released on Tuesday.
On Monday, Rep. Walden (R-Hood River) announced that he would not seek re-election in 2020 and would be retiring from politics at the end of his term in 2021. He has helmed Oregon's 2nd Congressional District since 1999.
Oregon is better for the leadership of @repgregwalden. Greg is a champion for small business and values of limited, effective government. Rural OR will miss his powerful and thoughtful voice. I am considering seeking the GOP nomination and how best to serve the people of CD2.— Knute Buehler (@KnuteBuehler) October 29, 2019
"Oregon is better for the leadership of Greg Walden in Congress and Salem," Buehler said. "Greg is a champion for small business and the values of limited, effective government. Rural Oregon will miss his powerful and thoughtful voice."
Buehler, a Republican, served as a representative in the Oregon legislature between 2015 and 2019 — leading a district that roughly encompasses the city of Bend in central Oregon. In 2018 he mounted a campaign to unseat Governor Kate Brown, though Brown ultimately won re-election.
Since that race, Buehler's term in the legislature ended and he has not played a visible political role in Oregon — aside from donating $5,000 to a fund for Republican state senators who faced fines for the June walkout. Unlike Walden, however, Buehler has made no indication that he is done seeking office.
"I am giving consideration to seeking the GOP nomination and how best to serve the people of Congressional District 2," Buehler said. "I will make a decision after visiting with Patty, my family, and supporters."
Oregon GOP Chair Bill Currier said on Monday that the party was "confident of having a strong nominee" to replace Walden in the 2020 election, though no Republican candidates have filed as yet.
Two Democrats, Raz Mason and John Holm, have declared their campaigns for the 2nd District seat.
Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a Democrat who challenged Walden in 2018, is currently running for Oregon Secretary of State — but her 2018 campaign, which was more successful than prior attempts to unseat Walden, has spurred some speculation that she could pivot toward the 2nd District.
"Representative Walden's decision to retire shows the power of our efforts to flip the House and establish accountability in Washington DC," McLeod-Skinner said Monday. "Since his announcement, I've received a lot of calls and I am in the process of returning them. I remain committed to protecting our democracy, building stronger communities, and safeguarding our environment."