Atkinson says he'll run for governor on Republican side

Oregon Sen. Jason Atkinson, a Central Point Republican, said he will be a candidate in the governor's race next year, confident he can organize an effective but civil campaign against former Gov. John Kitzhaber.

"I'm running," he said. "I'll be making an announcement later this month."

Atkinson, 39, unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006 and is still recovering from an accidental gunshot wound to his leg last year. He said he has put together "95 percent" of his campaign team.

He said he has had many long conversations with Kitzhaber over the years and first met him in 1999 when he became a senator.

"I'm excited by it because he is a friend," said Atkinson. "He's a former ER doctor and I've been in the ER quite a bit."

Despite their friendship, Atkinson said there are stark differences in political philosophies such as on the health care debate.

Oregon tried to create a model program in its Oregon Health Plan, but none of the other 49 states followed the example.

"We couldn't control costs, and costs went astronomical," said Atkinson.

Share This Story