Breaking News Emails
Get interrupted news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered everyday morning.
/ Up to date
By Mike Memoli
WASHINGTON – Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley will not seek the democratic presidential elections in 2020 and tell NBC News that he believes he can best fight for the issues that are most important to him by living in the Senate.
"I've never been scared of a hard blow," Merkley said in a 45-minute interview on Monday night in his senate hideaway office, recognizing the long odds he would have faced in a crowded field. "The question I asked myself is, can I be more effective at making a difference between those who are in the 2020 primary or by being in the Senate?"
Merkley, 62, was to run in 2020 no matter what – either in a crowded democratic field for president or for re-election to earn a third senate. And when he recently considered his forthcoming itineraries, the decision suddenly came into focus.
On the one hand, he was able to take a return trip to Iowa, the leading caucus state that is now underway with other US senators who oversee the presidency. Merkley has been to Hawkeye State nine times since 2016.
Or he could visit another border pension community with immigrant children – in some cases separate from their parents, as they sought asylum and a new life far from violent Central American homes. Since he last visited last December in Tornillo, Texas, Trump closed the administration what he had called a "tent prison" for children.
Winning the nomination requires a sustained focus on the early nomination countries and deviates from them for a visit such as those he has made for detention centers, the risk of being considered as mere purse cases.
"There is a possibility if you drive," Merkley said. "It does not release," he added.
Merkley acknowledged that there would have been long odds if he ran for president, but said in such a large field was everything possible.
"People who can be at the forefront today cannot be in the front tomorrow," he said. "If I came to this with a large arsenal in an organization – maybe it will change the calculation some. But it just comes down to the core senses that if we are to do things, we need a senate to get things done To happen. "
Merkley also revealed his decision in a video released Tuesday morning, saying that he would continue to work not only for his own re-election, but to help the Democrats win across the country, dedicated to tackling what he called three main "mega-challenges" to the country : the increasing concentration of political power in the rich hands; The lack of opportunity for many Americans to live a comfortable middle-class life; and the existential threat to humanity from a changing climate.
Addressing each will require not only a strong Democrat in the White House, but a congress – especially a Senate – who is no longer dysfunctional to work with him or her, said in the interview.