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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Congressman Walden To Face GOP Primary Challenger

Campaign photo
Klamath County commissioner Dennis Linthicum is seeking Greg Walden's seat in Congress.

Oregon's only Republican member of Congress will face a challenger from his own party in next spring’s primary. 

Klamath County commissioner Dennis Linthicum kicked off his campaign for the seat Wednesday. It comes as incumbents nationwide are gearing up for a potentially tough election season.

Walden has served in Washington since 1999. His district covers a vast swath of rural eastern and southern Oregon. He's risen through the ranks and is now on the leadership team of House Republicans. He also chairs the caucus’s re-election committee.

But like many incumbents, Walden is taking heat from the conservative wing of the GOP. Klamath County commissioner Dennis Linthicum has been dubbed a "Tea Party" challenger. He says he prefers the term "Constitutional conservative" and says he'd work to limit the size of the federal government.

"I don't think Greg Walden is carrying those principles around in the same fashion that I'm carrying them," he says.

Walden issued a statement saying he remains focused on reducing the size and cost of government and growing Oregon's economy.

There is a Democrat in the race for this heavily Republican district: Frank Vulliet, a Sunriver attorney.

On the Web:

Dennis Linthicum campaign site
Greg Walden campaign site