Cliff Bentz, an Ontario attorney and state representative, moved a step closer to the Oregon Senate after a weekend gathering of Republicans.
Bentz received the most votes from Republican precinct committee members to succeed Ted Ferrioli. Ferrioli has resigned his Senate seat to take a position on the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. Committee members cast votes Saturday equal to Republican voters in the nine counties covered by Ferrioli’s district.
In voting at a John Day session Saturday, Bentz got 9,170 votes. Suzan Jones, Baker County Republican Central Committee chair, got 4,011 and Eric Wattenburg, the owner and medical director of a Redmond medical clinic, got 3,733.
“Malheur County was the foundation,” Bentz said. “I so much want to thank the people of Malheur County.”
The three names now to go county commissioners, who will gather in a teleconference soon to appoint Ferrioli’s replacement from among the three.
Bentz has served in the House since 2008. He was a key architect of a state transportation plan passed earlier this year by the Legislature. The plan included state money for a rail shipping center in Malheur County.
Bentz has been an attorney since 1977 and is a partner in Yturri Rose.