Baker County’s new state senator is an old hand at representing the county’s residents in the Legislature.

Cliff Bentz, an Ontario Republican, was appointed Thursday to replace Ted Ferrioli, who resigned in November after Gov. Kate Brown appointed him to the Northwest Power & Conservation Council.

Bentz, 65, has served as a state representative since 2008 for a district that includes Baker County.

Commissioners from nine counties in Ferrioli’s Senate district, including Baker, gathered in John Day Thursday to choose his replacement from among Bentz and two other candidates: Suzan Ellis Jones of Bridgeport, who chairs the Baker County Republican Party, and Redmond physician Eric Wattenburg.

Each county was allocated one vote for each 1,000 registered voters or major fraction of 1,000 (more than 500) living in Ferrioli’s district.

Baker County had a total of 12 votes, based on its 11,555 registered voters at the time Ferrioli resigned.

The 12 votes were equally distributed among the three commissioners, so Bill Harvey, Mark Bennett and Bruce Nichols each had four votes.

According to a press release Friday morning from Bentz’s office, he received 73.59 of the 84 total votes (in some counties the vote totals divided by the number of commissioners didn’t result in a whole number). Wattenburg received 5.66 votes and Jones 4.66 votes.

See more in the Jan. 5, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.