Wasco County has a new state senator – that is, at least part of Wasco County. Senate District 30 generally covers the portion of the county that lies east of Highway 197, including Antelope and Shaniko. Some 27 county commissioners met either by phone or in person yesterday in John Day to interview three candidates to fill Oregon Senate seat left vacant when Sen. Cliff Bentz stepped down to run for Oregon’s Second Congressional District seat. That seat will be an open seat this fall as longtime Congressman Greg Walden announced he was not running for re-election. Commissioners took just over two hours to interview State Rep. Lynn Findley, former Wasco County Commissioner Rod Runyon and Sisters physician and radio talk show host Dr. Eric Wattenburg. The vote was unusual in that the votes were weighted by county population. Wasco County was given 16 votes, so each of the three commissioners had 4 and one third votes. Here’s how the votes were announced after they were tallied:
Runyon received votes from two Wasco County Commissioners and one Wheeler County Commissioner; Wattenberg had votes from two Deschutes County commissioners and all the rest went for Representative Lynn Findley.
Runyon was gracious following the vote:
Findley’s move to the state senate leaves his seat in the Oregon House vacant.
Commissioners from the five counties in Findley’s district, which covers all of Baker, Grant, Harney and Malheur counties and part of Lake Countywill repeat the process shortly and select his replacement before the 2020 Oregon legislative session begins February 3rd.