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The recently sworn-in Congressman said reports that he would challenge Biden's election were not accurate and that he hadn't decided; Wyden says all Republican lawmakers who worked to tarnish the election are partially responsible for riots

FILE PHOTO - Cliff Bentz

Oregon's freshman Congressman, Cliff Bentz, voted to challenge the Pennsylvania vote in the 2020 Presidential election.

"I cast my vote in support of the objection to the certification of the Electors from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Bentz said in a news release. "In doing so, my goal was to protect the integrity of our elections and to prompt all states to uphold election laws as determined by their state legislatures – all in accordance with our Constitution."

This November, voters elected Republican Bentz to represent Oregon's 2nd Congressional District, which includes Jefferson County, replacing Rep. Greg Walden, who held the position for more than 20 years but did not seek re-election.

The vote came Wednesday, Jan. 6, after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed into congressional chambers.

Bentz saw the drama unfold on C-Span, watching from his office.

"We saw the vice president and the speaker hurried off the floor. Then the whole thing went haywire. We saw protesters milling through the building. It was ridiculous," Bentz told the Pioneer Wednesday evening.

"I condemn as emphatically as anyone can condemn violence, harming security guards and leading to the death of a person." Bentz says his stance is consistent with his condemnation of violence in the city of Portland and throughout the state this year.

"I condemn violence in any protest period. Don't try to justify violence."

When voting resumed after the violence, Bentz believes the Pennsylvania process was flawed.

"In Pennsylvania, the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the state's Supreme Court did not adhere to the statutes set forth by the legislature when they extended deadlines for the return of absentee ballots."

Bentz did not support challenges to votes in any other of the key states.

"As we conclude the Electoral College certification process, we can accept that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. I am committed to a peaceful transfer of power, but I continue to empathize with those whose frustrations with the electoral system remain unresolved."

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden had this to say regarding the riot activities at the Capitol:

"What's happening today in our nation's Capitol is a direct assault on democracy, a riot by insurrectionists that caps off four years of Donald Trump fanning the flames of fanaticism. Every Republican lawmaker who supported his efforts to overturn a legitimate election shares responsibility for the violence at the heart of our democracy.

All Americans must be able to elect House and Senate members safe in the knowledge that their views will be represented in civil debate here in Congress without mob rule ever squelching that discussion.

As a steadfast defender of the First Amendment, I will always support peaceful protest even if I disagree with the views that are expressed. This is far from peaceful protest. But I thank the Capitol Police for their courage protecting all elected officials from criminals bent on destroying democracy. And I very much look forward to resuming the urgent work for our country, as soon as possible."

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