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US Senate

It appears the country is starting to pay attention to Oregon's favorite handyman, Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Merkley's patient-yet-determined opposition to the Trump Administration's new immigration policies has landed him a profile in the New York Times—one that (again) suggests Merkley will make a run for the White House in 2020.

"The mild-mannered Mr. Merkley is having a breakout moment," writes Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

Stolberg points to Merkley's recent Facebook live video—where he was threatened with arrest for asking to tour a child detention center in Texas—as the impetus to this moment. In fact, Stolberg says that viral clip spurred the global opposition to the fed's family separation policy that pushed Trump to sign an executive order (kind of) barring the practice. She's not wrong—since the video, Merkley's become a leader in both the Senate Democratic Caucus and the anti-Trump activism community (Portland's ICE protesters thanked him earlier this week). And because a politician doing good is always seen as a self-serving campaign strategy, Merkley's hustle has reignited the conversation around a presidential run.

Stolberg asked Merkley if he would drop out of a primary race for president in 2020 if it meant he'd be running against Democrat firebrands Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.

Merkley's response: “Not necessarily.”

Classic Merkley.

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Another excellent quote from the Times piece: “I’m not the person who comes to battle with, if you will, extensive charisma. That’s not me. But I am determined.”

This is the second time Merkley's hinted at a presidential run in 2018. Fortunately, if he does make a run to dethrone Trump, he already has a bulletproof campaign ad in his back pocket. Behold: