Oregon county commissioner Faye Stewart to run for US Senate
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Faye Stewart, a county commissioner in Oregon, announced Thursday that he will seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.
The Lane County commissioner will try to win the May primary and oust Democratic incumbent Ron Wyden, who is heavily favored to win the general election. Republicans have not won a statewide race in Oregon since 2002.
Stewart said he is running because "our citizens are broken, and they need help." He said the federal government has neglected the needs of Oregon counties while running up debt and mishandling natural resources.
"We need all of Oregon strong and prosperous, not just one little portion," he said, referring to Portland.
Stewart, 48, of Cottage Grove, is a member of the family that owned the Bohemia Lumber Co. during the 20th century. The firm was at one time the nation's leading producer of laminated wood beams.
His great uncle was L.L. "Stub" Stewart, the former state representative and president of Bohemia Lumber who has a state park named for him in Washington County.
It's unclear how many challengers Stewart will face in the Republican primary. Two GOP candidates have announced their bids: Mark Callahan, who lost to Monica Wehby in last year's primary, and Dan Laschober, a software and general finance consultant from Wilsonville.
Bend businessman Sam Carpenter is rumored to be entering the race.
Wyden is expected to keep his seat. He entered the Senate in 1996 after edging Gordon Smith in a special election to fill the spot vacated by Bob Packwood. Wyden easily won re-election in 1998, 2004 and 2010.
Stewart has been a county commissioner for 11 years. He said he did not consider a run in the 2014 Senate race ultimately won by Democrat Jeff Merkley. That seat was considered more winnable for Republicans than the one held by Wyden.