Kropf handily defeats Helt in contentious race for Bend Statehouse seat

Jason Kropf, a former Deschutes County District Attorney, pulled off something of a surprise Tuesday by handily defeating Rep. Cheri Helt for Oregon House District 54.

Kropf was leading with 61% of the vote as of 10:40 p.m.

In a Facebook post to his supporters, he thanked the voters in Bend for “putting their trust in me.”

“I am excited to get to work and fight for a better future for our entire Bend community and our state,” he wrote. “I’m proud of the campaign we ran, elevating important issues that will help people here in Bend like fully funding our public schools and increasing educational and economic opportunities for all our kids, expanding access to affordable physical, mental, and reproductive health care, and acting on climate change to protect this beautiful place we call home.

“I look forward to putting the election behind us and moving forward together to make real progress on the issues that matter to Bend voters.

Helt said in a Facebook post to her supporters that she called Kropf to congratulate him on his victory.

“Tonight I’m grateful to the people of Bend, my friends and supporters and to my loving family for the privilege of serving in the Oregon House of Representatives,” she wrote. “Obviously, I’m disappointed by the outcome and what it says about the polarized and partisan nature of our politics, nationally and here in Oregon.

“As a community it is now time to unite around our humanity and shared values. I am looking forward to dedicating more time to being a wife, mom, sister and daughter, and finding the next path to serve our community. I’m blessed to be an Oregonian and an American.”

A local restaurant owner and former chairwoman of the Bend-La Pine School Board, Helt has come under fire locally for some of her anti-Republican stances and opinions against President Trump.

Helt, considered the most moderate of Salem’s Republicans, also strayed from the GOP earlier this year when her colleagues staged a walkout to protest a climate change bill moving forward in the legislature.

The race was full of mudslinging through social media and in television ads.

Helt had accused Kropf of staying silent when a co-worker at the Deschutes County DA’s office made claims of harassment.

Kropf has accused Helt of lying about his record and distorting the truth.

Helt was first elected to the seat in 2018.

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