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2 Oregon state senators barred from seeking reelection after walkout will seek statewide office

State Sen. Brian Boquist, who is barred from seeking reelection and perhaps most well known for making threatening comments about the state police at the start of the 2019 Republican-led walkout, is running for state treasurer as a Republican. Another Republican prohibited from seeking reelection, Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, is running for secretary of state.

Boquist has been a fixture in Salem for nearly two decades, first serving in the House and later in the Senate. He briefly left the GOP and became the only member of the Independent Party. In 2019, when Republicans were on the verge of boycotting the session in order to kill a climate change bill, the governor said she would consider sending state troopers to haul Republicans back to the Capitol. Boquist garnered national headlines when he said state troopers should only “send bachelors” and “come heavily armed” if they were going to come after him.

Oregon state Sens. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, left, and  Dennis Linthicum, R-Beatty, on the Senate floor, March 1, 2024, at the Oregon state Capitol in Salem, Ore.

Oregon state Sens. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, left, and Dennis Linthicum, R-Beatty, on the Senate floor, March 1, 2024, at the Oregon state Capitol in Salem, Ore.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

Later, a legislative committee voted to require Boquist to provide written notice 12 hours before he entered the state Capitol. The idea was to give state troopers in the building time to beef up security. Boquist sued and won, arguing he was punished for exercising his First Amendment right to free speech.

Boquist is prohibited from seeking reelection to his state Senate seat after he participated in the longest legislative walkout in the state’s history during the 2023 session. Boquist is one of eight Republicans in the state Senate barred from seeking reelection after voters approved Measure 113, which prevents lawmakers from running for reelection if they have 10 or more unexcused absences in a single legislative session. The measure was recently affirmed by the Oregon Supreme Court.

Boquist said in a statement he is well qualified for the role of treasurer after serving on the state revenue committee. The Oregon Capital Chronicle first reported Boquist’s bid.

“I have honed the ability to speak bluntly and truthfully to Oregonians about where their hard-earned money is going and how the government machine spends it,” Boquist said. “I want to provide voters a choice in the primary, and as State Treasurer, I would invest in all Oregonians, not just New Yorkers and Wall Street barons.”

Boquist grew up in Tillamook, he’s an Army veteran and earned his bachelor’s degree at Western Oregon University. He later earned a master’s degree in business administration. He lives in Dallas, Ore.

State Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, D-Portland, who co-chaired the Joint Ways and Means Committee, is running on the Democratic side along with Jeff Gudman, a former city councilor from Lake Oswego.

The current treasurer, Tobias Read, a Democrat, is running for the secretary of state seat. Former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan was ousted in an influence-peddling scandal and the 2024 contest for her seat has already gained significant interest. State Sen. James Manning, a Eugene Democrat and president pro tem of the Senate, is also vying for the seat. Both Read and Manning have powerful connections inside the Democratic party.

Linthicum is a businessman and rancher, according to his legislative website, and a former Klamath County Commissioner. His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA and a master’s degree from Biola University.

“I have a laser-focused interest in auditing Oregon’s currently lacking election and financial integrity standards,” he said in a statement. “Oregon has a spending addiction that is nearly as bad as our fentanyl problems. I believe this is because of Oregon’s long history of single-party rule and subsequent corruption.”

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