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U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz and other prominent Oregon Republicans also attended the event in Hillsboro.

COURTESY PHOTO: GAGE SKIDMORE - Mike Pence speaks at a campaign event in Arizona in 2016, when he was a candidate for vice president.Former Vice President Mike Pence took the stage as the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for the Washington County and Oregon Republican Party on Saturday night.

Pence headlined the county's annual Reagan Day Dinner. U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz and Oregon House Minority Leader Christine Drazan also spoke at the event.

Republicans were eager to hear what Pence had to say. After thanking supporters for attending, Pence spoke out against "critical race theory" and President Joe Biden's infrastructure plans — and the situation in Portland.

Pence also thanked Bentz — in his first term in Congress — for being "an impact conservative voice in Washington, D.C."

Many at the annual Reagan Day Dinner said they hoped the fundraiser would bolster Republicans running for office in Oregon.

"As you know from following politics, campaigns cost money, and this is a fundraiser for Washington County GOP," said former Lake Oswego City Council member Jeff Gudman. "Hopefully it will raise money that they can support good candidates in 2022 and going forward."

Dan Mason, the chairman of the Reagan Dinner 2021, said, "Oregon is typically ignored by big names, partly because we are so far from the East Coast. And it's not like a swing state, and we aren't like an Iowa or New Hampshire. So what we've experienced in the past, it's been a challenge to bring people out here, and we are excited that the vice president accepted our offer to come out here."

Pence is widely considered to be mulling a 2024 presidential bid. Bentz declined to say if he would like to see Pence toss his hat in the ring.

"I don't comment on anybody running for president, because I'm so new to the job I now have as congressman," he said. "So I'm pretty careful about giving thought to that kind of thing. The short answer is I don't know what he's going to do, so we'll listen tonight and hear what he has in mind."

Pence himself did not give any indication of whether or not he'll run. Politico reports he will speak at an event hosted by the Young American Foundation.

Editor's note: This story originally appeared on the website of KOIN 6 News, Pamplin Media Group's news partner.

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