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GOP chooses three nominees for Ferrioli's Senate seat

County commissioners have until Dec. 22 to choose

 At a special nominating convention held by the Oregon Republican Party a week ago in John Day, Republican precinct committee persons comprising state Senate District 30 nominated three candidates to be considered by Baker, Deschutes, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur, Wasco, and Wheeler County commissioners to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day.

The three nominees are:

  • Rep. Cliff Bentz - Current State House Rep. from District 60, Rancher, Farmer, Attorney from Ontario
  • Dr. Eric Wattenburg - Family, Emergency & Urgent Care Doctor, Small Business Owner, and Medical Radio Show Host from Bend
  • Suzan Ellis Jones - Rancher and Baker County Republican Party Chair from Bridgeport

Under state law, the county commissioners from each county of SD 30 must now select by Friday, December 22nd from one of the three Republican candidates nominated.  Commissioners are expected to announce soon when and where they will interview the nominees, after which they will cast their weighted votes according to the number of voters from each of their counties registered within the boundaries of State Senate District 30.

“Thank you to Senate District 30 Republican Precinct Committee Persons for fulfilling their duty by nominating three strong nominees for county commissioners to choose from,” said Bill Currier, chair of the Oregon Republican Party, in a news release Friday.

The nominee selected by commissioners will officially take office before the next Oregon Legislature session starting February 1st.  The replacement will serve until January 13, 2019, but must stand for election in November 2018 in order to complete the two years remaining of Senator Ferrioli’s four-year term through January 2021.

On November 22nd, Republican Senator Ferrioli officially resigned from office to begin his appointment as a member of the Northwest Power and Conservation Planning Council which oversees electrical energy co-operatives, public utility districts, and hydroelectric generation facilities, along with planning, conservation, and management of other renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal.

Ferrioli stepped down as State Senate Republican Leader and Sen. Jackie Winters, who is currently the state's longest-serving black senator, was selected by her fellow Republican State Senators as the new State Senate GOP Leader on November 15th.

“We congratulate Sen. Winters on her new role as the leader of the State Senate Republican.  We also thank Sen. Ferrioli for his many years of leadership and distinguished service to our great state.  We look forward to his successor, once appointed, along with Senate GOP Leader Winters, carrying on the vital work of advancing Republican solutions as an alternative to the disastrous and corrupt Democrat One-Party-State in Salem,” added Chair Currier.


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