Jeff Merkley

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Jeff Merkley
Jeff Merkley.jpg
U.S. Senate, Oregon
Incumbent
In office
2009-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 5
PartyDemocratic
PredecessorGordon Smith (R)
Compensation
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2008
First electedNovember 4, 2008
Next general November 4, 2014
Campaign $$6,512,231
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Speaker of the House, Oregon State House of Representatives
2007-2008
Representative, Oregon State House of Representatives
1998-2008
Education
Bachelor'sStanford University, 1979
Master'sPrinceton University, 1982
Personal
BirthdayOctober 24, 1956
Place of birthPortland, OR
Net worth$1,275,510
ReligionChristian
Websites
Office website
Campaign website
Jeff Merkley (b. October 24, 1956, in Portland, OR) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Oregon. Merkley was first elected to the Senate in 2008.

Merkley is seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate from Oregon.[1] He won the Democratic nomination in the primary on May 20, 2014.[2] He is also running as an Independent candidate, Working Families Party candidate and a Progressive candidate.[3][4]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Merkley is one of the most reliable Democratic votes, meaning he can be considered a safe vote for the Democratic Party in Congress.

Biography

Merkley was born in Portland, Oregon. He holds a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a master's degree from Princeton.[5] His political career began in 1998 when he won election to the Oregon House of Representatives. He served as a representative from 1999 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2008.

Career

Below is an abbreviated outline of Merkley's academic, professional and political career:[5]

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate

2013-2014

Merkley serves on the following Senate committees:[6]

  • United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
  • Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
    • Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Members
    • Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development
  • Budget
  • Environment and Public Works
    • Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife
    • Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health
    • Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy

2011-2012

Merkley served on the following Senate committees:[7]

Key votes

113th Congress

CongressLogo.png

The 113th Congress has had 55 out of 5,401 introduced bills enacted into law (1 percent) as of November 30, 2013. Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 1.14 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the first session.[8] The Senate has confirmed 16,878 out of 19,009 executive nominations received thus far (88.8 percent). For more information pertaining to Merkley's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[9]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Nay3.png Merkley voted against confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[10]

Economy

Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Yea3.png During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[11] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Merkley voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[12]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Yea3.png Merkley voted for H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans opposing the bill.[10]

Immigration


Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.
Mexico-U.S. border

Nay3.png Merkley voted against Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[10]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Yea3.png Merkley voted for S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[10]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal cliff

Yea3.png Merkley voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003, while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by an 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[13]

Issues

On The Issues Vote Match

Merkley's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of all Congressional members based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Merkley is a Liberal-Leaning Populist. Merkley received a score of 38 percent on personal issues and 19 percent on economic issues.[14]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[15]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Strongly Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Strongly Favors
Expand ObamaCare Favors Comfortable with same-sex marriage Favors
Vouchers for school choice Strongly Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Favors
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Opposes Human needs over animal rights Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Favors Stricter punishment reduces crime Favors
Support & expand free trade Strongly Opposes Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Neutral
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Strongly Favors Maintain US sovereignty from UN Unknown
Prioritize green energy Favors Expand the military Neutral
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Opposes Stay out of Iran Opposes
Privatize Social Security Strongly Opposes Never legalize marijuana Favors
Note: Information last updated: 2014.[14]

Elections

2014

See also: United States Senate elections in Oregon, 2014

Merkley is running for re-election in the 2014 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Oregon.[1] He won the Democratic nomination in the primary on May 20, 2014. He defeated Pavel Goberman and William Bryk.[2] He is also running as an Independent candidate, Working Families Party candidate and a Progressive candidate.[3][4] The general election takes place November 4, 2014.

U.S. Senate, Oregon Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJeff Merkley Incumbent 93.1% 156,402
William Bryk 4% 6,680
Pavel Goberman 2.9% 4,943
Total Votes 168,025
Source: Results via Associated Press Vote totals above are unofficial and will be updated once official totals are made available.

Polls

General election
General Election
Poll Jeff Merkley Monica WehbyOtherUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Survey USA
September 22-24, 2014
52%32%8%8%+/-4.2568
Survey USA
August 1-5, 2014
52%33%7%9%+/-4.2564
AVERAGES 52% 32.5% 7.5% 8.5% +/-4.2 566
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org
Merkley vs. Wehby
Oregon Statewide Poll
Poll Jeff Merkley Monica WehbyNot sureMargin of ErrorSample Size
Benson Strategy Group
April 14-17, 2014
52%32%16%+/-4600
Harper Polling
April 1-2, 2014
46%34%20%+/-3.91670
AVERAGES 49% 33% 18% +/-3.96 635
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org
Merkley vs. Conger
Oregon Statewide Poll
Poll Jeff Merkley Jason CongerNot sureMargin of ErrorSample Size
Benson Strategy Group
April 14-17, 2014
50%34%16%+/-4600
Harper Polling
April 1-2, 2014
47%40%12%+/-3.91670
AVERAGES 48.5% 37% 14% +/-3.96 635
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org
Merkley re-election
Re-election of Jeff Merkley
Poll Re-elect New personDependsUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Magellan Strategies
December 9-10, 2013
39%54%7%5%+/-2.12,039
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

2008

On November 4, 2008, Jeff Merkley won election to the United States Senate. He defeated Gordon H. Smith (R) and David Brownlow (Constitution) in the general election.[16]

U.S. Senate, Oregon General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democrat Green check mark transparent.pngJeff Merkley 49.1% 864,392
     Republican Gordon H. Smith 45.7% 805,159
     Constitution David Brownlow 5.3% 92,565
Total Votes 1,762,116

Campaign donors

Fundraising events

The below chart from Find The Best tracks the fundraising events Merkley attends.


Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.


2014

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Merkley’s reports.[17]

Jeff Merkley (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[18]July 2, 2013$544,415.19$1,043,685.19$(61,785.65)$252,302.55
July Quarterly[19]July 15, 2013$1,318,743.76$815,968.57$(326,650.87)$1,808,061.46
October Quarterly[20]October 13, 2013$1,808,061.46$908,962.11$(427,275.97)$2,289,747.60
Year-End Quarterly[21]December 31, 2013$2,286,747$1,129,886$(418,415)$3,001,854
April Quarterly[22]April 15, 2014$3,001,854.98$1,056,498.36$(449,706.59)$3,608,646.75
Running totals
$4,955,000.23$(1,683,834.08)

Comprehensive donor information for Merkley is available dating back to 2008. Based on available campaign finance records, Merkley raised a total of $6,512,231 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 19, 2013.[23]

Jeff Merkley's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2008 U.S. Senate Won $6,512,231
Grand Total Raised $6,512,231

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

2008


Merkley won election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. During that election cycle, Merkley's campaign committee raised a total of $6,512,231 and spent $6,501,315.[24]


Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Merkley's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $79,024 to $2,471,996. That averages to $1,275,510, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic Senate members in 2012 of $13,566,333.90. Merkley ranked as the 61st most wealthy senator in 2012.[25] Between 2007 and 2012, Merkley‘s calculated net worth[26] decreased by an average of 12 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[27]

Jeff Merkley Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
2007$3,008,104
2012$1,275,510
Growth from 2007 to 2012:-58%
Average annual growth:-12%[28]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[29]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.

PGI: Donation Concentration Metric

See also: The Donation Concentration Metric (U.S. Congress Personal Gain Index)

Filings required by the Federal Election Commission report on the industries that give to each candidate. Using campaign filings and information calculated by OpenSecrets.org, Ballotpedia calculated the percentage of donations by industry received by each incumbent over the course of his or her career (or 1989 and later, if elected prior to 1988). Merkley received the most donations from individuals and PACs employed by the Lawyers/Law Firms industry.

From 2007-2014, 21.02 percent of Merkley's career contributions came from the top five industries as listed below.[30]

Jeff Merkley Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $15,668,974
Total Spent $11,918,710
Top five industries that contributed to campaign committee
Lawyers/Law Firms$972,101
Retired$812,333
Leadership PACs$613,850
Securities & Investment$533,173
Real Estate$361,458
% total in top industry6.2%
% total in top two industries11.39%
% total in top five industries21.02%

Analysis

Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Merkley is a "far-left Democrat" as of August 2014.[31] This was the same rating Merkley received in June 2013.[32]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[33]

Merkley most often votes with:

Merkley least often votes with:


Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Merkley missed 19 of 1,729 roll call votes from January 2009 to July 2014. This amounts to 1.1 percent, which is better than the median of 2.0 percent among the lifetime records of senators currently serving as of July 2014.[34]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Merkley paid his congressional staff a total of $625,167 in 2011. He ranked 20th on the list of the highest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 24th overall of the highest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Oregon ranked 21st in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[35]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted, as compared to other members, in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.

2013

Merkley ranked 38th in the liberal rankings in 2013.[36]

Voting with party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.

2014

Merkley voted with the Democratic Party 91.9 percent of the time, which ranked 40th among the 53 Senate Democratic members as of August 2014.[37]

2013

Merkley voted with the Democratic Party 88.9 percent of the time, which ranked 41st among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[38]

Personal

Merkley and his wife, Mary, have two children.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Jeff + Merkley + Oregon + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Jeff Merkley News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 JeffMerkley.com, "Home," accessed May 13, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Associated Press, "Oregon - Summary Vote Results," May 20, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 Oregon Secretary of State, "Candidate Filing Search Results," accessed August 14, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Oregon Secretary of State, "Candidate Filing Search Results," accessed September 3, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Jeff Merkley," accessed October 24, 2011
  6. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 2013
  7. Vote Smart, "Jeff Merkley"
  8. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  9. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Project Vote Smart, "Jeff Merkley Key Votes," accessed October 17, 2013
  11. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  12. Senate.gov, "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  13. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 On The Issues, "Merkley Vote Match," accessed August 26, 2014
  15. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more-restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more-restrictive answers.
  16. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  17. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Merkley 2014 Summary reports," accessed October 29, 2013
  18. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed August 5, 2013
  19. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed August 5, 2013
  20. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 29, 2013
  21. Federal Election Commission, "Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 19, 2014
  22. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 24, 2014
  23. Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Jeff Merkley," April 2013
  24. Open Secrets, "Jeff Merkley 2008 Election Cycle," accessed May 16, 2013
  25. OpenSecrets, "Merkley, 2012," accessed January 14, 2014
  26. This figure represents the average annual percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below) to 2012, divided by the number of years calculated.
  27. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  28. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  29. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  30. OpenSecrets.org, "Sen. Jeff Merkley," accessed September 30, 2014
  31. GovTrack, "Jeff Merkley," accessed August 26, 2014
  32. GovTrack, "Jeff Merkley," accessed June 7, 2013
  33. OpenCongress, "Sen. Jeff Merkley," accessed August 26, 2014
  34. GovTrack, "Jeff Merkley," accessed April 2013
  35. LegiStorm, "Jeff Merkley"
  36. National Journal, "Vote Ratings: 2013," February 26, 2013
  37. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  38. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Gordon Smith
U.S. Senate - Oregon
2009-Present
Succeeded by
-