(Reuters) – Former Republican state legislator Cliff Bentz will replace Oregon’s only Republican congressman, who is retiring, after emerging victorious from a crowded field of candidates in a primary election, according to results early on Wednesday.
Bentz secured about 31% of the votes in the election on Tuesday, according to the results. His closest Republican rivals, Knute Buehler and Jason Atkinson, also ex-state legislators, secured about 22% and 20% of the votes respectively.
Local media reported that Buehler conceded the race to Bentz late on Tuesday.
The retirement of Representative Greg Walden had set off a fierce race, with 11 Republicans and five Democrats competing in Oregon’s second congressional district to succeed the moderate Republican who had served the area since 1999.
Oregon has been a vote-by-mail state for two decades. Due to COVID-19 lockdowns, much of the political battle for the election was fought on the airwaves and social media.
Buehler had been the top fundraiser, collecting $1.3 million and spending nearly $1 million, but his support for abortion rights as well as his past criticism of Republican President Donald Trump earned him enemies within the party.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Pravin Char