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Politics & Government

Bentz Follows Walden As 2nd District Representative

Erik Neunann/JPR
Cliff Bentz during a visit to the site of the Almeda Drive Fire in Jackson County.

Republican Cliff Bentz has won a decisive victory for Oregon’s Congressional District 2 seat.

Bentz won with 60% of the vote, according to the Oregon Secretary of State. His opponent, Democrat Alex Spenser got 36.0% and Libertarian Robert Werch trailed with just 3%.

Bentz’s win marks his first term as a representative in Oregon after the retirement of Republican Greg Walden who served in the seat for nearly 22 years. The sprawling Congressional District 2 encompasses a vast stretch of Oregon east of the Cascade Mountains. The largely rural district also includes urban hubs like Bend, Pendleton, Medford, and Klamath Falls. It is Oregon’s only national seat held by a Republican. A competitive race between Democrat Peter DeFazio and Republican Alek Skarlatos was too close to call at 9:00 p.m.

Bentz was elected on a platform of representing rural Oregon in the overwhelmingly Democratic-led state. He’s a lawyer and rancher in Ontario, Oregon. Prior to his 2020 race he was a representative and then senator in Oregon’s state legislature.

Bentz led state Republican senators when they walked out of the 2019 legislative session to protest a cap-and-trade bill intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon. Bentz served for eight years on the Oregon Water Resources Commission and has a strong focus on water issues from irrigation to dams in the agriculture-oriented eastern side of the state.