Oregon Republican Raises Money For Possible Governor's Bid

Jul 13, 2015

As Oregon voters brace for yet another governor’s race next year, a Republican in the state House announced Monday he might be ready to run.

When former governor John Kitzhaber resigned, he was just four weeks into his fourth four-year term. That complicated things for the state’s highest office. Now, Oregon voters can look forward to an extra governor’s race.

In an email to donors Monday, Republican Rep. Knute Buehler of Bend announced he’s weighing a 2016 bid to fill the office’s remaining two-year term.

Oregon is a tough state for a GOP candidate. A Republican hasn’t led the state’s executive branch since January 1987, when former governor Victor Atiyeh stepped down.

Buehler is a doctor. This year he advanced a cause that’s not typical for his party -- access to birth control. He spoke about it on public radio in April.

“It’s clear from best practices and evidence out there,” Buehler said on OPB’s Think Out Loud in April. “Having improved access to oral birth control really improves women’s health and decreases unintended pregnancies by up to 25 percent.”

Starting next year, women in Oregon can buy oral contraceptives from a pharmacy without seeing a doctor.

Kate Brown defeated Buehler in the 2012 secretary of state race. Brown, who has the governor’s seat through the 2016 election, has not announced whether she’ll run.

If he and Brown face off again, Buehler said he’s “confident she can be defeated.”