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Sen. Jeff Merkley Is Hiring Staff in Iowa and New Hampshire

It's part of an effort to flip control of Congress back to the Democrats, but it again add to the idea that Merkley is running.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) is adding fuel to the speculation he'll run for president by hiring staff in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to vote on the 2020 Democratic Party nominee to challenge President Donald Trump.

Technically, the staff Merkley is hiring will work for his Blue Wave Project PAC, which is supporting women who are running for Congress in swing districts, NBC News reported.

He's also not the only possible presidential contender with people on the ground in those states; Senators Corey Booker and Elizabeth Warren also have staff, according to NBC News.

Merkley spokesman Ray Zaccaro said staffing was about targeting "red to blue opportunities" in 2018.

“Senator Merkley is determined to win back the House and Senate in 2018,” says Zaccaro. “He developed the Blue Wave Project to help give candidates the financial, material and physical support they need to be successful in races that are critical to a blue wave victory.”