Local Republican announces run for Congress

This article has been updated to include a statement from Congressional candidate Jason Atkinson.

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – There is now a local Republican who plans on running for outgoing Representative Greg Walden’s House seat.

On October 28, Walden said he’s retiring from politics after next year after 30 years of public service. He hopes a fellow Republican with similar values can take his place.

A few days after the announcement, Republican Cliff Bentz from Ontario, Oregon filed for a chance to represent Oregon’s Second Congressional District after Walden leaves. The self-described attorney, farmer, rancher, and commercial real estate manager currently serves as an Oregon State Senator.

Bentz’s filing came after Democrats Raz Mason of The Dalles and John P. Holm of Medford filed to run in the Second District’s primary election. This past Friday, Phoenix High School graduate and community organizer Isabella Tibbetts, also a Democrat, filed to run for the seat as well.

Now, another Republican is announcing his campaign to take over for Walden, longtime Ashland resident Jason Atkinson. He served as a member of the Oregon Senate between 2001 and 2013. Before that, he served as a representative in the Oregon House between 1999 and 2001.

Atkinson released the following statement on Tuesday:

Today, longtime conservative Legislator Jason A. Atkinson is filing to run for the Second Congressional District.

“It has been my honor to represent Southern Oregon and be a champion in the State Legislature for the issues we care about most.  After heartfelt counsel with my family, I have decided I can continue to best serve our Oregon by filing to run for Representative to the 2nd Congressional District.” Atkinson said.

Atkinson’s first job in politics 28 years ago was as an intern for the Congressman Bob Smith who represented Oregon Congressional District 2.  At 26 he ran for the Oregon House of Representatives and won followed by three terms as an Oregon State Senator from Southern Oregon.  In 2013, he did not seek reelection to spend more time with his family.

“I have always believed public service is honorable and I will do my best to make a positive impact on people’s lives.  I vow to take all of the voices from southern, central and eastern Oregon, a lifetime of relationships, with me to our Nation’s Capital and uphold the legacy of Congressman Greg Walden.”

In addition, the Atkinson campaign is announcing that former Trump senior strategist, Jim Dornan, is joining the Atkinson team.  Jim has been a long time Republican consultant and strategist who shares the Atkinson campaign’s vision of values and ideals.

Jim Dornan, “I’m excited about this race and Washington DC is buzzing about Jason.  After he took time off from public service to see his son through high school, the time is right for his return to public life.  He has a lot of people very excited.”


Jason A. Atkinson is a leader, filmmaker, a writer, and a public servant. After 14 years in the Oregon Legislature he took a sabbatical to make the film “A River Between Us” documenting the largest restoration project in US history: the Klamath River. He is a Rodel Fellow with the Aspen Institute, a commentator and speaker on a wide range of issues. Atkinson has worked in the corporate sector building focused teams in finance, branding and as a negotiator. Atkinson served as an Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commissioner for the Second Congressional District.

Atkinson graduate from Ashland High School and has degrees in history and political science from Southern Oregon University and an MBA/MPA from Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management.  Stephanie Atkinson graduated from South Medford High School and has a degree in dental hygiene from Oregon Institute of Technology.  The Atkinsons have a farm in Central Point.

Atkinson’s work has been featured in the New York Times, 60 Minutes, Men’s Journal, to name a few.

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