Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has chosen to run for re-election on Capitol Hill instead of joining the increasingly crowded Democratic race for the White House.
In a short video shared early Tuesday morning, Merkley put an end to any speculation of a 2020 presidential run.
"I believe that there are Democrats now in the presidential race who are speaking to the importance of big challenges we face," Merkley said. "But what I'm also sure of is that right now, the Senate is not prepared to be a full partner in this fight. My best contribution is to run for re-election."
Merkley has served as Oregon's junior senator since 2009. He has remained relatively out of the spotlight until the 2016 presidential race, when he became the only Democratic senator to endorse Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the primary election. Merkley again grabbed national headlines in June when he livestreamed his attempted visit to a South Texas detention center for immigrant children who had been separated from their parents.
In his morning video, Merkley highlighted three crises he plans to address in his looming re-election campaign: Environmental degradation, economic inequality, and a tainted democratic process.
"We are way off track, and the future of America hangs in the balance," he said calmly. "We are in a battle for the soul of our nation."
(We're personally hoping that more time focused on Oregon politics just means more time working on Oregon decks.)
With yesterdays announcement from former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, there are now 13 Democrats who've officially announced their run for the White House in 2020 (and many who're still "considering the run").
It's still unclear which candidate Merkley will chose to endorse.