Reed Christensen at U.S. Capitol
A man the FBI identified as Reed Christensen pushes a police officer outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo from body camera still included in a federal affidavit)

A Hillsboro man facing federal criminal charges for his involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has ended his campaign for governor.

Reed Christensen shared a press release dated April 14 about his decision to end his campaign in response to a Capital Chronicle article about Republican gubernatorial candidates who defended the incident. 

Christensen said in a statement that he experienced a stroke on April 11 that hospitalized him. It was his second stroke in two years, he said. 

“It is clear that my health is not strong enough for Oregonians to depend on,” he continued. 

He told the Capital Chronicle on Monday that he doesn’t plan to endorse any other candidates. 

Christensen will still appear on Republican primary ballots and in the government-issued Voters’ Pamphlet. The platform he presented in the pamphlet calls for ending Oregon’s decades-old mail voting system, banning abortions and abolishing the Oregon Education Department.  

Christensen has pleaded not guilty to eight federal crimes, including assaulting, resisting or impeding two Capitol police officers and a Washington, D.C. Metropolitan police officer and engaging in physical violence and disruptive conduct in a restricted building. He’s scheduled to appear via video before a federal judge in a Washington, D.C.,  U.S. District Court on May 10.

His arrest warrant describes Christensen trying to remove a set of bike racks that officers used as a barrier to prevent the crowd from moving closer to the Capitol. A police officer sprayed him in the face with pepper spray, causing him to temporarily back away, according to the report.

Officers then gave him water to rinse the spray from his face, according to the report, but a few minutes later he joined a group of rioters who succeeded in removing the bike rack barriers. He burst through and hit or pushed three police officers, the warrant said. 

The FBI identified him using surveillance cameras and cameras worn by officers, with help from witnesses who knew Christensen was in Portland and recognized him from footage aired on television. While Christensen pleaded not guilty to the charges, he readily admits to being present at the Capitol.

He said attending the event caused him to stop watching conservative networks because they referred to it as a “riot.” Recent polling indicated that a plurality of Republicans in Oregon believe Jan. 6 is best described as a “riot out of control,” while a majority of Democrats consider it an “attempted coup or insurrection.” 

Christensen didn’t report raising any money for his campaign, according to state campaign finance records.

Oregon Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oregon Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Les Zaitz for questions: Follow Oregon Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.

Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle

Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.