The tally of Oregon House Republicans opting out - well over half a year before the filing deadline - rises now to six (that's six out of a total of 29), with the upcoming departure of Tom Butler of Ontario.
Unlike some of the other Republican departures, this one has only a slim chance of affecting the partisan balance in the chamber. His district 60 is the southeastern part of the state - Malheur, Harney and Baker counties and the remote southeastern part of Grant - and this is solidly Republican territory, all of these counties running 2-1 (or better) Republican. Butler, elected five times to this seat, was solidly entrenched. But since this is an open seat, in what is looking like another Democratic cycle, Democrats may be encouraged to run a candidate to try to pull higher than normal numbers here, as an added push for local and statewide Democratic candidates. Still, Butler's successor will highly likely be a Republican. (One side note there: Baker City's Chuck Butcher, who has run for the U.S. House, probably would make a strong Democratic nominee here.)
His departure has another impact at the Statehouse. Butler has been one of the leading figures on tax issues in the legislature, and the mix of discussion and pressure points is likely to change with his departure.