2020 senator or president? Sen. Merkley may have to choose

On the heels of the most anticipated midterm election in U.S. history, Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley might have his eyes set on 2020 and the presidency.

But Oregon law may prevent him from running for our nation’s highest office while also seeking reelection in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Merkley’s up for reelection in 2020 and still mulling over the possibility of running for the Democratic nomination for president, but he may be forced to choose between the Senate or the White House.

“It just creates a lot of chaos,” Sen. Merkley said.

The Oregon U.S. Senator may be caught in the middle, hoping to win reelection to a third term in the Senate while throwing his hat in the ring for the presidency.

But under current Oregon law, he may not be able to do both.

Some state laws allow candidates to be on both ballots.

“They feel like that will help bring attention to the issues of that state and the influence of that state’s representatives,” said Sen. Merkley.

That prompted New Jersey’s legislature to recently change state law. That law will allow U.S. Sen. Cory Booker to run for both offices in 2020.

“It’s up to the state legislature what Oregon wants to follow that example,” said Sen. Merkley.

But Sen. Merkley thinks he could have it both ways in 2020, because the early primaries are before the Senate filing deadline in Oregon.

“You could run, you could be in the outside the top group in the early primaries or long before,” Merkley said.

But that doesn’t mean he’s leaning toward a run at the White House, the senator said his mind isn’t made up.

“Well I’m still exploring the question of whether to get into the presidential primaries, and I just haven’t made a decision on it yet,” he said.

Sen. Merkley said he’ll continue to explore the potential run over the holidays and make a decision early next year.

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