Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) announced on his Facebook page Monday that he is entertaining the idea of running for Governor in 2016.
"Next year's election in Oregon will be unique with three statewide offices up for election without an elected incumbent. I have an important decision to make," he wrote. "Should I run for re-election to the Oregon House representing Bend? Or should I run for Governor in 2016? For me, Patty and our family, the decision right now is where best to make a difference. I will decide by the end of September and I want your support and advice."
The 2016 gubernatorial election would be for the final two years of what was ousted Gov. John Kitzhaber's term. Kate Brown, who became governor after Kitzhaber's resignation, will have to win the 2016 election to remain in the position. A regular gubernatorial election will be held in 2018.
Buehler ran against Brown in her bid for re-election to Secretary of State. He lost, but despite being a relative political unknown, racked up an impressive number of newspaper endorsements and secured 43 percent of the vote (to Brown's 51 percent).
When we interviewed Buehler before the 2014 election, he indicated that he had no aspirations for higher office.
"My only ambition is to represent Bend with integrity and independence in the Oregon House," he said in an August interview.
Still, Buehler's supporters on Facebook seem fond of the idea of a "Gov. Knute Buehler." And both Democrats and Republicans chimed in to show their general support for the politician who has built his political career on his moderate stance on the issues.
One commenter wrote, "Your views are a bit more liberal than I like, that being said, I would still support you for Governor, as I truly believe you have good intentions, and represent all, unlike some in office."
While another said, "As a Dem I want you to stay in the legislature because you made a huge contribution working on common sense issues. If Republicans can come under sensible leadership it is good for the entire state."
Oregon has not had a Republican governor since 1987, when Gov. Victor Atiyeh finished his second term.