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Columbia City Republican Brian Stout narrowly lost to incumbent Brad Witt twice. Witt is not running in 2022.

COURTESY - Brian StoutBrian Stout will run to represent the newly drawn House District 31 next year, the Columbia City resident announced Monday, Oct. 11.

Stout ran as the Republican challenger to incumbent Democrat Brad Witt in 2018 and 2020.

In 2020, Stout lost to Witt by just over 500 votes, but he won Columbia County by more than 2,300 votes.

At the time, HD 31 contained all of Columbia County and suburban portions of Multnomah and Washington counties, which put the Clatskanie Democrat over the top in 2020 even though he lost his home county.

Now, with the latest redistricting process complete, HD 31 includes more of the conservative western portions of Washington County, withdrawing from more liberal urban areas like Bethany. Though the district also lost Republican-friendly Clatskanie — although Witt, who lives several miles east of the city, still resides there — it is still far more conservative than under the old district boundaries.

Last week, Witt announced he would not seek re-election under the new district boundaries.

Stout won the 2020 Republican primary with 86% of the vote and was uncontested in the 2018 primary.

"We did a ton of groundwork last time which I believe sets the stage for a decisive win in the 2022 election," Stout stated in a press release announcing his run. "I hear daily from local citizens and business leaders, and they are frustrated. Many feel that our rural communities have been marginalized by a disproportionate emphasis on urban policy. It's time to restore balance to our economy and take a stand for our rural communities."

Stout is the first known candidate for the redrawn seat. The 2022 elections will be held under the new district lines.

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