In a lengthy profile published online today, CNN raised the possibility that U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), could be a candidate for president in 2020.
“As 2020 approaches, he might be quietly mounting a bid to run for president in what will likely be a crowded Democratic primary,” reports CNN’s Ashley Killough.
Merkley’s camp did nothing to dissuade CNN of that possibility.
“If Jeff doesn’t feel that there is a strong progressive voice in the race, it would motivate him to get in,” said a source close to the senator to CNN. “He’s committed to making sure Democrats have a progressive choice.”
Although Merkley, 60, a former speaker of the Oregon House, is just in his second term, he’s earned respect with his committee work—he serves on the Budget, Appropriations, Foreign Relations, and Environment and Public Works Committees—and he’s made headlines with his strong criticism of President Donald J. Trump.
He was also the only senator to endorse U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) in last year’s Democratic presidential primary.
There’s no clear-cut front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Hillary Clinton will turn 73 that year and Sanders, 79, so neither of them is likely to be a candidate. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who was Clinton’s running-mate in 2020, has already said he will not be a candidate, so the field is wide open.
In an interview with CNN, Merkley said there will likely be plenty of Democrats eager to run.
“Right now, every elected Democrat in the nation knows they’d be a better president than Donald Trump,” Merkley said. “And I’m not just talking the House and the Senate, I’m talking every city council member, mayor, and county commissioner knows that they would be a better president.”