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Difference between revisions of "Jeff Merkley"

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{{Congress donor box 2008
{{Congress donor box 2008
|Chamber = U.S. Senate, Oregon General Election
|Chamber = U.S. Senate, Oregon
|party = Democratic
|party = Democratic
|total raised = $6,512,231  
|total raised = $6,512,231  

Revision as of 16:44, 2 September 2013

Jeff Merkley
Jeff Merkley.jpg
U.S. Senate, Oregon
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 6
PredecessorGordon Smith (R)
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
Representative, Oregon State House of Representatives
Bachelor'sStanford University, 1979
Master'sPrinceton University, 1982
Date of birthOctober 24, 1956
Place of birthPortland, OR
Net worth$1,900,511
Office website
Jeff Merkley (b. October 24, 1956, in Portland, Oregon) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Oregon. Merkley was first elected to the Senate in 2008, when he defeated Gordon H. Smith (R) and David Brownlow (Constitution) in the general election.

Merkley's 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.

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.


Merkley was born in Portland, Oregon. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a Master's from Princeton.[1]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Merkley's academic, professional and political career:[1]

  • 1979: Graduated from Stanford University
  • 1982: Graduated from Princeton University
  • 1999-2008: Oregon House of Representatives
  • 2007-2008: Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives
  • 2009-Present: U.S Senator from Oregon

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Merkley serves on the following Senate committees[2]:

  • United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
    • 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
  • 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




Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" 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 a 89/8 vote on January 1, 2013.[4]



See also: United States Senate elections in Oregon, 2014

Merkley is set to run for re-election in 2014. Should he decide to run, he will be seeking the Democratic nomination in the primary on May 20, 2014. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


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.[5]

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

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.[6]

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


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.[7]

Jeff Merkley (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[8]July 2, 2013$544,415.19$1,043,685.19$(61,785.65)$252,302.55
July Quarterly[9]July 15, 2013$1,318,743.76$815,968.57$(326,650.87)$1,808,061.46
Running totals


Breakdown of the source of Merkley's campaign funds before the 2008 election.

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.[10]


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 June 2013.[11]

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.[12]

Merkley most often votes with:

Merkley least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Merkley missed 11 of 1,278 roll call votes from Jan 2009 to Apr 2013, which is 0.9% of votes during that period. This is better than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving. [13]

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.[14]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Merkley's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $951,025 and $2,849,997. That averages to $1,900,511, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2011 of $20,795,450. His average net worth increased by 15.85% from 2010.[15]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Merkley's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $530,026 and $2,750,996. That averages to $1,640,511, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2010 of $19,383,524.[16]

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.


Merkley was ranked one of the two most liberal senators in 2012.[17]


Merkley was ranked one of the two most liberal senators in 2011.[18]

Voting with party


Merkley voted with the Democratic Party 88.9% of the time, which ranked 41st among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[19]


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.

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External links


Political offices
Preceded by
Gordon Smith
U.S. Senate - Oregon
Succeeded by