Sam Carpenter, Bill Currier tussle to command Oregon GOP

From yesterday’s Portland Tribune: from left: Oregon Republican Party chair Bill Currier and former gubernatorial candidate Sam Carpenter speak during the Western Liberty Network conference on Saturday, Feb. 2.
Tribune photo: Zane Sparling

An uncompromising conservative former candidate for governor is vying for control of the Oregon Republican Party — foreshadowing whether the state GOP will move to the right in the wake of the last election.

Bend businessman Sam Carpenter calls himself a “Forever Trumper” and makes no secret of his opposition to mainstay Democratic policies like access to abortion and same-sex marriage.

The second-place finisher in the 2018 Republican primary blames ruling class elites for the failed gubernatorial bid of former State Rep. Knute Buehler, who was largely viewed as a moderate inside the party.

“The Democrats ended up laughing at him, and the Republicans ended up sneering at him,” Carpenter said of Buehler during an interview. “Of course he lost.”

Carpenter is gunning for the seat occupied by Bill Currier, a Benton County Republican running for his third two-year term as chair of the state party. Currier owns an IT business and is mayor of Adair Village, a city of less than 1,000.

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