by NW Spotlight
Dr. Knute Buehler, a Republican state representative from Bend, announced in a newsletter yesterday that he is considering a run for Oregon governor in 2016. He plans to decide by the end of September.
“In 2016, we will either bring fresh, long overdue change to Salem or we will settle for a failing status quo overseen by long-time insiders with misplaced priorities,” Dr. Buehler said, adding “I protected struggling small businesses – voting against higher taxes and new job-killing rules and regulations. I was the first to speak out in defense of the brave Kitzhaber-Hayes whistleblower and introduced a bill that required greater government transparency.”
In his newsletter, Dr. Buehler criticized Gov. Kate Brown (D) for failing to reform and improve Oregon’s public schools – which he noted have the worst high school graduation rate in the nation.
Dr. Buehler also stressed his independence, noting “I’ve kept my word to be an independent voice and to cross party lines to get things done. And I’m doing my best to put Bend and Oregon ahead of the narrow labels and rigid partisanship that too often define politics today.” That independence could be important – as was reported in Oregon Catalyst last month, the number of small-i independent voters in Oregon now exceeds the number of Republican voters.
If Dr. Buehler does make the call to run for governor, it will be a rematch against Democrat Kate Brown. He ran against her in 2012 for Oregon Secretary of State, and he earned the endorsement of 13 of Oregon’s major newspapers in that race. Kate Brown broke a campaign spending pledge and raised over $1 million dollars to defeat Dr. Buehler – by a margin of 51.3% to 43.2%.
Brown yet to be elected governor
Gov. Kate Brown, who has not won election as governor yet, is up for election in 2016 because she only became governor after fellow Democrat John Kitzhaber had to resign in February of this year amidst a series of scandals that made national news. Per the Oregon constitution Kate Brown, then the Oregon Secretary of State, replaced Kitzhaber until a special election in 2016. His normal 4-year term would have ended in 2018.