2 legislators survive GOP purge attempt

PORTLAND — Two Oregon Republican legislators have survived an attempt to purge them for supporting tax increases.

After defeating conservative challengers this week, Reps. Greg Smith of Heppner and Bob Jenson of Pendleton go into fall races as the favorites in their Republican-leaning districts.

Conservative groups, with the vocal backing of Republican State Chairman Bob Tiernan, targeted the two after 2009 tax votes. Smith voted with Democrats to raise personal income taxes, Jenson to raise both personal income and business taxes.

The two drew support from state employee unions and local residents unhappy about outside meddling.

Tiernan says his only regret is that the party's bylaws didn't allow him to do more than encourage the insurgents.

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