Here’s what to expect at the Oregon Congressional District 2 Elementary School

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FILE: Sen. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, asks questions during a working session of the Senate Judiciary Committee in April 2019.

Kaylee Domzalski / OPB

JPR’s Roman Battaglia sat down with Jim Moore, a political science professor at Pacific University.

Roman Battaglia: Thank you Jim for being here with me today and talking about the District 2 Elementary School.

Jim Moore: Yes, it’s a fun elementary school.

RB: So why don’t you first tell me a little bit about some of the issues that are on the hearts of voters in District 2, which is mostly rural, Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon. What are voters interested in?

JM: Yes, the most important things that would have to do with national government will be issues of regulation, certain issues of freedoms, especially in this COVID era – and exiting the COVID era. And then especially in the second congressional district. It is a natural resource economy. It’s important to know when looking at the 2nd Ward – well it’s big and rural looking that by far the majority of people live in urban areas. They live in Rogue Valley. They live in Pendleton. They live in the cities that are in there. And so rural issues are important, but they’re more important because of the economics of natural resources and things like that than because of the people who actually live on the ranch or something.

RB: So it’s important; Just to remind you that Medford, Bend (see note below) those other, larger cities that people live in compared to the actual rural parts. That’s why District 2 is so big compared to all other representative districts, and it sounds like some of the big things voters are thinking about in this district are a lot of these natural resource things. So wood, the environment, aspects like that. Water, I’m sure, is probably a big thing people are watching because of all these drought issues.

JM: Yes absolutely. And it’s interesting because basically the entire second congressional district is going through some sort of drought right now. But the water problems are clearly much greater in the Klamath Basin than in the Wallowas, for example. So there are these regional things. However, they have one thing in common – the question of whether there is a raw materials industry that can replace wood, which has been in trouble for 40 years. So that’s the big question.

RB: So this year, Cliff Bentz is up for re-election in District 2, and he’s got a couple of Republican challengers going against him in the primary. But from what I can tell, Bentz seems to have a pretty good chance of winning the primary and general election. Would you say that’s true?

JM: Yes, that’s absolutely true. According to the last official report at the end of March, his two opponents did not collect any money at all – they had to report this to the federal government. Cliff Bentz raised $641,000. Had $424,000 on hand. So it doesn’t look like his two opponents are running really credible campaigns.

RB: Yes, that’s certainly true. A lot of money compared to his opponents. At this point, do you think the Democratic opponents in the opposing primaries have a chance of bringing him down in the general election?

JM: no And that’s partly because of the registration numbers. There’s a big Republic advantage in the district, but sometimes they haven’t fundraised at all. Still, by the end of March, again only $10,000 had been raised and Prine wasn’t even listed on the FEC website. So that tells me they don’t run really credible campaigns either. And you know, it’s a big difference from two years ago when there was a strong Democrat out there running and trying to really make a difference this time. The Democrats seem to have just said, okay. We’ll just leave it in Republican hands.

RB: Well, Jim Moore, thank you for taking the time to talk to me today about District 2 and what we’re looking forward to in the elementary school this year.

JM: Hey, you’re welcome.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Editor’s note: While Bend was historically part of Oregon’s 2nd congressional district, following the 2021 reorganization the city was relocated to the 5th district. The District 5 representative will represent Bend after the November election.

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