Jeff Merkley

Ben Cardin




RACE SUMMARY:  Merkley was the first candidate since1968 to unseat an incumbent Oregon Senator.  He won his race by only 3 percentage points in one of the most costly races in the country. Merkley supports a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and he also believes that a women should have a unfettered access to reproductive services. 

VOTING RECORD: Project Vote Smart, Govtrack US



Party: Democrat 

Born: 10/24/1956

Education: Stanford University (B.A.); Princeton University (M.P.P.)    

Occupation: Budget and Policy Analyst  

Family: Married; 2 children

Religion: Lutheran 


  • Member of the Oregon House of Representatives (1999-2009)
  • Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives (2007-2009)
  • U.S. Senator (2009-present)


  • Committee on Appropriations
  • Committee on Foreign Relations
  • Committee on the Budget
  • Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • Committee on Rules & Administration

Elected: 2008



  • Co-sponsored U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act which states that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States and directs the U.S. to engage in cooperative activities with Israel in the areas such as water, energy, agriculture and homeland security
  • Supports Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorists attacks and to protects its borders
  • Supports funding for Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System


  • Earned a 100 percent pro-choice rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America
  • Supports Roe v. Wade
  • Supports Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive insurance coverage policy
  • Voted against the Blunt Amendment, also known as the Birth Control Refusal Law, which would have allowed any employer to refuse to cover contraception or any health service required under the health reform law for virtually any reason
  • Supported increased funding for women’s health services, which includes Title X family planning programs
  • Co-sponsored Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act (Not My Bosses Business Act). This Act was aimed at countering the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision and would prohibit for-profit employers that maintain a group health plan for its employees from using religious beliefs to deny employees coverage of contraception or any other vital health service required by federal law. 

In His Own Words

“As a stalwart advocate for Israel’s security, I understand Israel's need to defend itself from terrorism.  No country in the world would tolerate attacks across its border, on its civilians, without responding.”  1

“A nuclear-armed Iran would be a grave threat to the United States, to Israel, and to ongoing global efforts to halt nuclear proliferation.” 2

“Our bosses don’t belong in our bedrooms.  Contraception is a part of basic essential health care for women and it should be a decision that women make with their doctors, not something that their boss decides for them. It’s time to stand up and say it’s not your boss’s business!” 3

SOURCES: 1, 2, 3

Interesting Facts

Merkley spent a summer during college hitchhiking around Israel.

He was the first in his family to attend college.