The Oregon Republican Party selected Bill Currier to be its new party chair on Saturday, after a contentious debate.
 
Currier is an information technology consultant and the Mayor of Adair Village, a small city near Corvallis. He was serving as the party’s Vice-Chair.  Currier is the third new chair in the past two years.
 
There were 118 republican delegates from 32 of Oregon’s counties who cast their votes in the decision.
 
The party’s previous chair, Art Robinson, was criticized for ineffective leadership and fundraising after the party raised just $360,000 for its federal candidates during his tenure, compared to roughly a $1,000,000 during the 2012 election cycle.
 
Delegates at the meeting and former candidates complained divisions and infighting have kept Oregon’s republicans from winning a statewide office since Gordon Smith won his second term as senator in 2002.
 
Currier promised to build consensus within the party and broaden its statewide appeal.
 
 “The grass roots is not responsible for the losses that we’ve had. In 2014, I saw a grassroots effort like I’ve never seen before,” he said.  “There are internal issues in this party that must be addressed before we can move on,” he said.
 
Currier also pledged to build better relationships between the local party and national republican groups including Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party.
 
He said his key challenge is to mobilize the party to quickly to prepare for the 2016 special election that will determine who will serve the remainder of former Governor Kitzhaber’s term.
 
“We have to have messaging that resonates with people across the state regardless of their political party affiliation,” he said.
 
Currier had been challenged for the position by Wally Hicks, the legal counsel for Josephine county and a former State Representative.