Knute Buehler, photo by Todd Cooper

Does Buehler ‘Bend’ or Break the Rules?

DPO files complaint that Buehler no longer lives in the district he serves

What’s an election without some drama? Jeanne Atkins, chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO) and former Oregon secretary of state, announced today that she has submitted a complaint to the Secretary of State’s office to conduct an investigation of Republican candidate Knute Buehler.

Atkins and the DPO allege he has moved out of his district and is no longer eligible to serve as state representative in Oregon’s district 54.

Atkins draws on two media interviews where Buehler said he moved from his district in Bend to a new home in Tualatin — more than 165 miles out of district. He told the Portland Tribune that he and his wife were moving back to Tualatin, where they once lived 25 years ago. While on the Mark Mason radio show (a Portland-based program on 1190 KEX), he confirmed that he no longer lived in Bend.

No official word from the Buehler camp. But the Oregon Republican Party (ORP) shot back in true Trumpian fashion: It threw a red herring. The party says the DPO is trying to distract from Gov. Kate Brown’s dismal public polling numbers.

A recent poll conducted by Gravis Marketing for Real Clear Politics shows the race for governor tied with 10 percent uncertain, though doubts have been raised about the accuracy of the poll and the polling firm.

ORP says the DPO’s complaint is rooted in the belief that only state representatives, who are not from Portland or Salem, can run for governor. In addition, the state Legislature isn’t currently in session.

“The Democratic Party of Oregon’s complaint is worse than just a silly political gimmick, it conveys the very kind of elitist attitude over the years that Oregonians living outside of the Democrat Party stronghold of Portland have come to resent,” says Kevin Hoar, communications director with the party.

The DPO, however, cites Article IV, Section 8 (7)(a) of Oregon law, essentially gimmick or not — it’s the law:

“A person may not be a Senator or Representative if the person at all times during the term of office of the person as a Senator or Representative is not an inhabitant of the district from which the Senator or Representative may be chosen or which the Senator or Representative has been appointed to represent.”

As ORP tries to unseat Brown, Multnomah County Republican Party has taken the initiative to focus on “exposing and publicizing the dark underbelly of City politics” according to a press release. They’re fueling their efforts by raffling off a brand-new Springfield Armory SAINT AR-15.