On election night, working families got a big boost in the Senate, with strong victories by five pro-worker candidates: Rep. Mark Udall of Colorado, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Rep. Tom Udall of New Mexico, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Warner of Virginia. Now it looks like we can add a sixth name to the list of great new senators elected on Tuesday: Jeff Merkley of Oregon.
Merkley, a strong supporter of the freedom to form unions, has pulled ahead of incumbent Sen. Gordon Smith in late counting. The state’s largest paper, the Portland Oregonian, projected last night that Merkley would win the race.
Oregon’s union members carried out an energetic statewide campaign to educate other members about Merkley and get out the vote, and the closeness of this race shows why our get-out-the-vote efforts are so critical. (Smith, his opponent, understood the importance of unions in this race: Despite his anti-worker record, he falsely claimed the support of the state’s Longshore and Warehouse Union [ILWU].) In the Senate, Merkley will support the Employee Free Choice Act and defend working families.