WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley ended more than a year of speculation, Tuesday morning. "Today, I’m announcing I am not running for President," he announced in a video posted to his website and social media accounts.
"We are way off track and the future of America hangs in the balance. Every American who grows up outside the circle of privilege and power, every underdog deserves a full opportunity to thrive," he said int he video, "We are in a battle for the soul of this nation." He believes the country faces crises over Democracy, the climate and American opportunity. "Over the last year, I’ve weighed whether I can contribute more to the battle by running for President or by running for re-election for the Senate. I’ve had amazing encounters with Americans in every corner of the country. And those conversations reinforce the urgency for bold action now. But, to win these battles, we need both strong leadership in the Oval Office and strong leadership in the Senate." He went on to say, "I believe that there are Democrats now in the Presidential race who are speaking to the importance of tackling the big challenges we face. 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’s current term is up in 2020 and Oregon law prohibits him from running for two offices at once, so he had to choose between seeking re-election or running for President.