Jeff Merkley Opts Out of Presidential Run in 2020: ‘The Senate Is Not Prepared to Be a Full Partner in this Fight’
He’s not running. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), a staunch progressive who has served since 2009, has opted out of a presidential run in favor of seeking re-election to the Senate in 2020. In a video he shared Tuesday, accompanying a new campaign website, the Oregon senator said the Democratic race was already stocked with qualified candidates, and that his most important work could be done in the Senate. “I believe that there are Democrats now in the presidential race who are speaking to the importance of tackling the big challenges we face,” he said. “But what I’m also sure of is that right now the Senate is not prepared to be a full partner in this fight. 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 was tacitly acknowledging that while many of his colleagues (six senators so far) are running for president, the party needs to regain a majority in order to have any chance of passing legislation in the next term. Prior to his announcement, Merkley had intimated that he was seriously considering a run and that his family had given him the green light if he wanted to proceeded.