PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley will serve another six years in the Oregon Senate, easily defeating his challenger, pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Monica Wehby.
In front of hundreds of Democratic supporters, Merkley promised to bring jobs home, and thanked his wife, children and parents.
‘We need to come together in a problem-solving manner,” said Merkley, who acknowledged he “lost some colleagues tonight.”
Merkley promised to keep fighting what he called “a common sense battle between the 1% and the 99%.”
The incumbent Senator challenged his supporters to elect a Democratic president and senate in 2016.
“I wish him well because I wish America well,” said Wehby in a concession speech in front of her supporters at Portland’s Sentinel Hotel.
She said she is proud of the race she ran on “principles, ideals, and seriousness.””
“I appreciate each one of you that fought so hard for me.”
The race: Merkley vs. Wehby
The two candidates running against each other in one of Oregon’s most high-profile races met only once in a televised debate that did not even reach the Portland area.
KOIN 6 Political Analyst Jim Moore called the single meeting “very unusual,” giving Oregonians little chance to see the two engage over key issues.
Both Wehby and Merkley had high profile endorsements. John McCain came to Oregon to campaign for Wehby, while Joe Biden made a stop in Portland in support of Merkley.
Moore said the race came down to campaign management.
“When she had scandals, the silence from her campaign was deafening.”
Throughout the campaign, allegations that Wehby stalked a former boyfriend and plagiarized her health and economic platforms arose.
Moore’s final thought on the race
KOIN 6 political analyst Jim Moore said early Tuesday night “This should be over at approximately 8:01 p.m.”
He was right.
“Wehby suffers from poor campaign management, and was never able to establish that she was an Oregon moderate — the only way a Republican can win in Oregon,” said Moore.
Merkley was against a weak opponent, Moore said, and polled roughly at what an average democratic candidate should poll at.
Moore said Merkley now has the opportunity to build seniority in the Senate, and become the the “go-to guy” on one of his areas of expertise, such as housing or international relations.