Ashland’s representative in Congress also endorsed Trump in 2020
U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Oregon, said Wednesday he’ll back former President Donald Trump’s campaign for president.
Trump leads the small pack of candidates vying for the Republican nomination, which will be decided in state primaries between January and June. Oregon’s primary will be held May 21, and the Oregon Supreme Court is weighing a challenge to bar Trump from the ballot on the grounds that he engaged in insurrection.
Bentz tweeted Wednesday morning that he chose Trump after talking with friends, constituents and the former president’s cabinet members.
“I now believe that Donald Trump will ultimately win the Republican primary and if we Republicans join together he will be elected president,” Bentz wrote.
Bentz did not immediately respond to questions from the Capital Chronicle on Wednesday. Bentz will also be on the primary ballot in May, and faces a challenge in the Republican primary from Prineville Mayor Jason Beebe. The Oregon Republican Party is not allowed to endorse a presidential candidate in the primary, according to Tracy Honl, the party’s national committeewoman.
“While not all Oregon Republicans support former President Trump, the Oregon Republican Party has a large number of people who very much do,” she said in an email Wednesday evening. “I think it’s safe to say that many will be thrilled with Congressman Bentz’s endorsement.”
Bentz represents the sprawling 2nd Congressional District, which includes Ashland. He previously endorsed Trump for president in 2020 and joined fellow Republicans who voted against certifying election results from Pennsylvania, one of six swing states won by President Joe Biden. That vote was unsuccessful, but it would have denied nearly 7 million voters a say in who should be president. Bentz also supported an impeachment inquiry into Biden.
Every Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, has endorsed Trump. Oregon’s only other Republican representative, Lori Chavez DeRemer, who represents the 5th Congressional District, told the Capital Chronicle she has not yet endorsed a candidate.
“The first votes of the 2024 race still haven’t been cast, and I look forward to seeing the process play out,” she said in an email.
Alex Baumhardt has been a national radio producer focusing on education for American Public Media since 2017. She has reported from the Arctic to the Antarctic for national and international media, and from Minnesota and Oregon for The Washington Post.