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Attorney Cliff Bentz to finish Butler's term

Posted by The Oregonian January 22, 2008 14:08PM

County commissioners from Baker, Malheur, Harney and Grant unanimously picked Cliff Bentz today to replace Rep. Tom Butler, R-Ontario, who resigned mid-term to pursue a church mission.

Bentz practices corporate and business law and lives in Ontario. He is chairman of the Ontario School Board and has previously served on the Oregon Water Resources Commission.

He beat Deon Strommer, a Baker City business owner, and Tim Smith, a geologist and rancher from Burns; all three Republicans had filed for the May primary election. Smith could not be reached immediately for comment.

Strommer said he's leaning toward staying in the race, but left open the possibility of dropping out. "Cliff's well known, and a good guy," Strommer said. "You've got to overcome that if you want to do this."

-Janie Har; janiehar@news.oregonian.com

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