BEND, OR -- Ending months of speculation, State Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) announced Thursday morning he will run for Governor in 2018. He tells KBND News, "Governor Brown has had her chance to lead the state for the last four years and she’s failed. And, I’d say she’s failed miserably. She’s failed to lead on really the essential issues facing the state, such as our budget and our fiscal problems, our pension and education reforms are needed and our schools and healthcare systems are just not functioning in a way that most Oregonians would expect." Brown was first elected Secretary of State in 2009 and succeeded John Kitzhaber as Governor when he resigned in early 2015.
Buehler is the first Republican to file for the race, but he expects opposition in the May primary. "In my memory, I can’t remember when there hasn’t been a contested Republican Primary; I welcome that. I think that only makes myself and my team even stronger, it gets more people engaged in the race and we can have a more vigorous debate on the issues." If Buehler is successful in May, the Bend Republican would face Brown for a second time. She beat Buehler in the 2012 race for Secretary of State. He was elected to the Legislature in 2014; and re-elected in 2016. "Over the last four years, certainly I’ve deepened my understanding of the political process and Oregon’s state government by representing Bend in the Oregon Legislature. So, I feel very well prepared for this race in leveraging those lessons and relationships that we’ve made over the past four years."
Rep. Buehler responds to State Ethics Commission report on what he calls "politically motivated" complaint.
Buehler acknowledges that being from Central Oregon could be a disadvantage for his campaign. "I’m very much used to being an underdog, so it does not bother me a bit to be a candidate from the east side of the mountains. I have a deep understanding of the west side of Oregon; remember I grew up in Roseburg, I went to college at Oregon State, I lived for five years in the Portland metro area, so I have a deep understanding of the state of Oregon and its great citizens."