Jeff Merkley

Jeff Merkley

In this Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, file photo, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., defends the Senate Democrats’ vote to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president’s nominees for judges and other top posts, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE- In this Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, file photo, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., defends the Senate Democratsí vote to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president’s nominees for judges and other top posts, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Merkley, who was chosen by the Democratic Party establishment over a liberal activist in his first run for U.S. Senate, makes an unlikely hero for the partyís left wing. But in the six years since going to Washington, he has become one of Congressís strongest champions for progressive causes, from cracking down on Wall Street to promoting gay rights. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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