Senator Jeff Merkley announces he's not running for president in 2020

Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesOregon Senator Jeff Merkley.
  • Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has ruled himself out of the race for the White House in 2020.
  • Merkley, a Democrat, said: “I’ve reached the conclusion that the biggest impact I can have is here in the Senate.”
  • He teased a “major announcement” scheduled for Tuesday in an email on Monday night.
  • The senator had already visited New Hampshire and Iowa, suggesting national ambition.

Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, has announced that he will not be running for president in 2020.

Merkley, the only US senator to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016, announced his decision in a video posted to YouTube on Monday.

“Today, I’m announcing I am not running for president,” he said.

Merkley teased a “major announcement” scheduled for Tuesday in an email on Monday night, which turned out to be that he would campaign to keep his current position.

The Oregon senator rose to prominence in the last year in part because of his opposition to the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

In June 2018, Merkley tried to enter the Casa Padre processing facility in Brownsville, Texas, where children were being separated from their parents because of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.

His official requests for a tour were ignored. When Merkley got there, he was not allowed into the facilities and ultimately police had to ask him to leave.


Read more:
2 US senators stopped by police from touring immigrant detention facilities where children are held

Merkley, 62, is a graduate of Standford University and Princeton University. He is married to Mary Sorteberg and has two children. Merkley and his family currently live in Portland.

After graduating from Princeton, Merkley worked at the Office of the Secretary of Defence and then the Congressional Budget Office. In 1998, he was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives and, in 2006, he became Speaker of the House for the Oregon Legislative Assembly.

According to The Oregonian, some of the Assembly’s accomplishments under Merkley include the creation of a rainy day fund, a 14% increase in education funding, and a ban on junk food in school. Same-sex couples were also given state rights and benefits.

In his announcement, Merkley said: “Over the last year I’ve weighed whether I can contribute more to the battle by running for Senate, or by running for president.”

“I’ve reached the conclusion that the biggest impact I can have is here in the Senate.”

The Oregon senator, who is considered a progressive, is a main proponent of banking regulation and has been one of the main forces behind the Wall Street reform bill.

In 2017, he held a Senate filibuster in protest of the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, saying the Senate Republicans’ successful attempt to secure Gorsuch’s nomination was a “stolen seat.”

In the run-up to Mekley’s suspected presidential announcement, he visited New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada – all states with early primaries and caucuses.

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