Sen. Jeff Merkley won’t run for president

Sen. Jeff Merkley won’t run for president

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(Screenshot- Merkley's announcement video.)

WASHINGTON —Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) announced Tuesday that he will not run for president in 2020, opting instead to run for a third term in the upper chamber.

“Over the last year, I’ve weighed whether I could contribute more to the battle by running for president or by running for reelection to the Senate,” Merkley said in a YouTube video. “Today I am announcing that I am not running for president. I believe there are Democrats now in the presidential race who are speaking to the importance of tackling the big challenges we face.”

Merkley said that he will spend his time before the 2020 election focusing on voting rights, combatting climate change and narrowing income inequality.

The senator has spent recent years positioning himself as a long-shot 2020 candidate, playing coy right up until his announcement.

On Monday night, he teased his announcement on Twitter.

Merkley is the latest Democrat to formally announce that they won’t be seeking the presidency, joining attorney Michael Avenatti, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, wealthy climate change activist Tom Steyer and, as of Monday, former Attorney General Eric Holder.

2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has maintained that she will not enter the race, but garnered headlines Tuesday after reiterating the previous day that she is not running in 2020.

Candidates seeking the Democratic nomination now stands at 14, with several big names, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, remaining on the fence.

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