Sen. Jeff Merkley will run for re-election instead of president

Oregon Democrat: best contribution to help the Senate be a full partner in addressing challenges

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., speaks during a news conference with fellow members of the Senate Banking Committee on Republican opposition to Richard Cordray's nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Merkley announced Tuesday that he won’t run for president and will make a bigger difference by running for reelection in the Senate.

The Oregon Democrat has been publicly contemplating a presidential bid for almost a year. 

“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 said in his announcement video.

The video was stylized like a traditional presidential announcement, featuring Merkley outlining his family history and expressing his concerns with the state of the country, declaring that it is “way off track.”

The senator’s platform is comparable to other progressive presidential candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, featuring an anti-corruption sentiment and a populist bent. 

He told the New York Times in June that he wouldn’t “necessarily” stay out of the race if Sanders and Warren were to enter. Both Warren and Sanders officially joined the Democratic presidential primary in February.

“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.

Watch: John Delaney is running for president: Here are some congressional basics

Merkley affirmed in his announcement video that he is going to “help elect a president,” but didn’t specify who he would support. He was the only senator to endorse Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary over Hillary Clinton, The Washington Post reported.

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