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Butler leaves this month

Tom Butler

Tom Butler

Five-term Representative Tom Butler, R-Ontario, serves one of the biggest Oregon House districts, taking in most of the state’s border with Idaho and pulling from Frenchglen to Hells Canyon nearly to John Day. And those names give you an idea of how many and how large the communities are in this area.

So what may be most interesting in the choice of replacement for Butler will be: Where will the new rep hail from?

The choice comes soon, since Butler has just announced he will leave the House not at the end of this term (as he had indicated months ago) but at the end of this month. His statement says that “This week, the Butlers received a full-time church service mission call to serve a two-year mission in the California Los Angeles Mission and to report to the LDS Church’s Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah in early January. Rep. Butler said he and his wife, both Certified Public Accountants, had applied to serve LDS Church Area Audit Service missions in Latin America before Mrs. Butler’s recent illness.” (That illness was West Nile Virus, of which she was the first reported Oregon case this year, and from which Butler said she has recovered.)

The interim choice will of course be Republican, and that person likely will be elected next year: This is exceedingly Republican territory, overall maybe the most solidly Republican House district in Oregon. But so large is it that its hard to get around and hard to communicate with. If a substantial challenge to the appointee emerges next year, it could be within the Republican primary, from someone who’d like to see someone from their part of the district going to Salem.

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