OR-Sen: Jeff Merkley The Projected Winner

The Oregonian is now projecting Jeff Merkley will defeat Republican Gordon Smith for the U.S. Senate seat. No Oregon Senator has lost as an incumben

The Oregonian is now projecting Jeff Merkley will defeat Republican Gordon Smith for the U.S. Senate seat. No Oregon Senator has lost as an incumbent in 40 years.

Democrat Jeff Merkley has leapt from Oregon's statehouse to the U.S. Senate, ousting two-term Republican Gordon Smith after an expensive, high-stakes contest that will help shift the balance of power in Washington.

The Oregonian projects that Merkley will squeak by Smith by the time all votes are counted.

Merkley, a five-term state lawmaker and former Habitat for Humanity director, took advantage of a surge of Democratic support to win the bitterly fought battle with Smith, a Pendleton frozen food magnate who also rose from the Oregon Legislature.

Jeff Merkley was backed by some fine people, including his wife Mary Sorteberg and the man pictured with them below.

Major h/t also to Jeff Merkley's tireless netroots director Sarah Lane. And the folks over at Blue Oregon for their fabulous work.

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