Smith concedes; Merkley declares victory


This morning, Senator Gordon Smith called Jeff Merkley to offer his congratulations on Merkley's election as Oregon's next U.S. Senator. From the AP:

Democrat Jeff Merkley has ousted Republican Sen. Gordon Smith, a victory once considered unlikely against an incumbent who had highlighted his efforts to work across the aisle in hopes of surviving a wave of anti-GOP sentiment.

Smith's loss — the first for an incumbent Oregon senator in 40 years — means Democrats are poised to have at least 57 votes in the Senate next year. He had been the last GOP senator standing in the three Pacific Coast states south of Alaska.

"There's a lot of work for us to do together," Merkley told a crowd of supporters Thursday morning as they jammed a room at Portland State University and spilled into the hallway.

"It's time for a very different approach," he said, in such areas as health care, job creation, affordable housing and energy independence.

He was with his fellow Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden, who said it wasn't an easy decision for Oregon to replace Smith.

Merkley, said Wyden, "is not just going to be a good Oregon senator, he's going to be a great one."

Smith spokeswoman Lindsay Gilbride said the senator called Merkley on Thursday morning to concede. By then, about 82 percent of the vote had been counted and Merkley led by more than 40,000 votes.

We'll have video of Merkley's victory speech shortly.


  • Don (unverified)

    Video is at;

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)


  • Rhett (unverified)

    Mary = cutest Senatorial spouse ever!

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)

    Merkley is full of Super Awesome!

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    We've all worked so hard for this - everyone in the State, the campaign workers, the volunteers, myself, my wife.

    (Especially Lupita, my wife. Phone banks, organization, speeches, media appearances, essentially being the hispanic hotline for the State. Not to mention being considerably poorer for all the fundraisers we attended.)

    Believe you me, when Paulie Brading talks about all the things her people did down in her County, I knew exactly what she was talking about. Kudos all around.

    So if you had anything to do with supporting Jeff today, please take a bow. This is our victory. Yes We Did.

    And Jeff isn't going to be just a Democrat in the Senate, or even a better Democrat. He's going to be great one.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)

    Having not won any counties east of the Cascades or south of Eugene the new senator needs to reach out to those parts of Oregon which may feel disenfranchised and prove he is not just a senator for the Portland metro area.

    Representing the views of all Oregonians should be job #1 for senator Merkley.

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    Good guys do finish first! Congratulation Jeff!

  • Gregor (unverified)

    So good to see Gordo gone. Only progressive in an election year.

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    This morning Senator Merkley promised to have a town hall in each of Oregon's 36 counties each year (a la Ron Wyden)... a big improvement over Senator Smith's lack of outreach.

    Count me among those thrilled to have Merkley as our next Senator. Hooray! Hooray!

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    I think the town hall idea is a good one, and I'm looking forward to having two Senators who are accessible.

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    I tire of the suggestion that Merkley was elected only by the north/center/west of the state. Take away the 150,000+ votes he got from counties east of the Cascades and south of Eugene and he'd have lost BADLY to Gordon Smith.

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    Right. He may not have won those counties, but there is a large population of people in those counties that voted for Merkley. Some of those counties were in the high 30-40's for Merkley.

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    Jenni - exactly.

    The efforts of folks like Paulie and Chuck Butcher and the many others in Eastern and Southern Oregon were absolutely CRITICAL to Merkley's victory.

    He simply couldn't have won without the votes and support of Eastern and Southern Oregonians. It really is that simple.

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    Yes Yes Yess, and this is how you build a lasting majority.

    Senator Wyden has made it a point to staff satellite offices around the state.

    Obama took a lot of flack from progressives and The Party Boyz for "wasting time" in red areas.

    Jeff did the 100 city tour as part of his campaign.

    As mentioned by Evan Emanuel above, Smith's never bothered. Reminds me of the absentee Liddy Dole in NC. Same results too.

    People need to hear from our people up close and personal. It's the only way to overpower the Hate, Fear, Feminize and Ridicule box of tricks that the Republicans serve up with increasing predictablility every two years.

  • marv (unverified)

    A few posts ago Buckman Res indicated that Senator Elect Merkley had not won a county east of the Cascades. In this case perhaps east of the Cascades is interpretive. Hood River County has a plurality of votes for Mr. Merkley and in my opinion is east of the Cascades.

  • genop (unverified)

    Don't be getting all perimecium on us. You know - divisive. Jeff earned his shot. People of every stripe, throughout the state supported Merkley despite being bombarded with very negative images regularly. Thank god that's over. Kudos Merkley Perhaps senatorial campaign history will now include the "Smith Effect" - a melt down loss from working the dark side. Will they ever learn?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Good riddance to Smith. Now let's isolate Joe Lieberman.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    I tire of the suggestion that Merkley was elected only by the north/center/west of the state.

    Deschutes County not only gave 40 percent of its votes to Merkley but Bend ousted Republican Chuck Burley from the Salem house and replaced him with Judy Stiegler.

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    I think this election helped to prove that with resources needed to go out and talk to voters (not just money, but volunteers and the staff needed to train and lead), you can do well in "red" areas.

    Right now, as surprised as I am to say it, they're trying to figure out if Democrats now control the house in Texas. It's really close and may end up as a tie. My former state legislator, Craig Eiland - who is a lot like Merkley - has already stated his intention to run for Speaker of Texas' State House. Who would've thought?

    We need to be out in all the areas talking to people, as then we cut through the junk from the commercials and mailers and show people that our candidates care. That our issues are indeed their issues.

    Sure, you may still not win a majority in those areas, but what you do pick up (whether it be 17% or 49.9%) helps towards your overall win.

  • DanOregon (unverified)

    I just hope when President Obama (God I love typing that) says Merkley needs to come around on a vote he may not like to make, he realizes how many people voted for him because Barack said so. Congrats Sen. Merkley. If you can swing it, I'd suggest a summer home in Bend. I am grateful for the service of Gordon Smith. I think he was about as good of a GOP Senator as Oregon could have asked for. And thank you Dave Brownlow....

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    I just hope when President Obama (God I love typing that) says Merkley needs to come around on a vote he may not like to make, he realizes how many people voted for him because Barack said so.

    And I just hope that when Senator Schumer and President Obama remind Senator Merkley of how much they did to help get him reelected, Senator Merkley remembers that the only people who actually voted for him were Oregonians.

    I suspect he will. Senator Wyden has done a good job of always keeping that in mind and I don't think his example will be missed by Senator Merkley.

    And while I supported Gordon, I think Jeff will be a better senator than he was a candidate. He's smart, principled and wants the job for the right reasons. I wish him well.

  • Dave (unverified)

    Some politicians only listen when they are starting out. Then when they think they don't need to listen anymore, they stop listening.

    It was a bit pathetic to see Gordon Smith going around the state at the last minute "listening" intently to a few people, hoping for votes.

    Hopefully Jeff Merkley will listen, and keep listening.

    The big American automakers illustrate that principle also. They went for SUV's for the money, not for what the people wanted. They were not listening to the people's situations.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    "Hopefully Jeff Merkley will listen, and keep listening"

    <h2>He will do that. But I hope he is more active in his listening this time around in his new environs than he was when he was a newly elected person in the Oregon Legislature. I hope he just doesn't sit in the back and ride the tails of Wyden - He has got to make his own tails.</h2>
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