Buehler calls for Kavanaugh replacement
State Rep. Knute Buehler, GOP candidate for governor, on Thursday called on President Trump to replace Brett Kavanaugh as nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.
"At this point, I strongly believe President Trump should withdraw the nomination and put someone forward that can gain bipartisan support. This is a time to heal a deeply-divided nation, and this is a wonderful opportunity to do so," Buehler said. "I hope President Trump proceeds in that direction."
The comment, made in response to a question at a televised gubernatorial debate in Medford, marks the first time Buehler has taken an unequivocal stance on what should happen to Kavanaugh.
The comment came hours before the U.S. Senate set in motion procedures to confirm Kavanaugh. A final Senate vote could come as early as Saturday.
Buehler initially was reluctant to weigh in on the nomination. Following a U.S. Senate committee hearing on Christine Blasey Ford's sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh, Buehler called for the nomination to be put on hold pending an FBI investigation.
"This has been a historic week for our country," Buehler said in a debate Thurday night. "It's opened a lot of people's eyes, and the testimony from Professor Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh has been compelling and authentic. I think it's deeply troubling, though - the accusations that have come forward, the temperament that Judge Kavanaugh has shown, and I call out and congratulate the moderates in both parties, both the Republicans and Democrats, who called for the FBI investigation and slowed down the process."
His stance puts him largely on the side of Democrats who also have been calling on U.S. senators to reject Kavanaugh.
Gov. Kate Brown, Buehler's Democratic opponent, participated in a demonstration Sept. 24 against Kavanaugh's confirmation.
On Thursday, she repeated her position.
"I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. I believe all the survivors out there," she said.
She noted that as governor, she has appointed about 50 Oregon trial and appellate judges. She said she seeks judges who are honest, care about people and have a calm and collected temperament.
"I don't think Judge Kavanaugh meets these values," she said.
Buehler received immediate pushback to his comments from Republicans on Twitter Thursday.
"I strongly believe you shouldn't be representing the Republican Party of Oregon, yet here you are," tweeted Emily Anderson. She followed the reply with hashtag "#ConfirmKavanaughNow."
Another Twitter user, named Robert Adrighetti, wrote: "Knute, you are heading the wrong direction, sir! One more step to the left, and I'm gone."
Paris Achen: email@example.com or 503-363-0888. Achen is a reporter for the Portland Tribune working for the Oregon Capital Bureau, a collaboration of EO Media Group, Pamplin Media Group and Salem Reporter.