Merkley Forgoes White House Bid, Says Prefers to Stay in Senate

(Bloomberg) -- Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley on Tuesday opted not to join a crowded Democratic presidential field and instead seek a fourth term.

“My best contribution is to run for re-election and do all I can to help the Senate be a full partner in addressing the challenges before us,” Merkley, 62, said in a campaign announcement video.

Merkley would have been the seventh U.S. senator to announce a bid for the 2020 nomination and a chance to run against President Donald Trump in November 2020. His announcement came after former 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton also said she wouldn’t run again and planned to help her party’s choice.

Like other Democratic senators in the race, including Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Merkley comes from the progressive wing of the party, and on his Senate campaign page he highlights his blue collar background as the son of a millwright who was the first in his family to go to college.

“I’m going to help elect a president, senators and other leaders who will live and breathe the fight, even or especially when that means standing up to very powerful opponents,” Merkley said.

Last year, Merkley, who sits on the Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committees, filed a longshot lawsuit to put off the Senate vote on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court until the Trump administration turned over more information about Kavanaugh’s work in the administration of George W. Bush.

Kavanaugh was confirmed in October.

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