Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyEnvironmentalists, Oregon senators oppose DOT increasing transport of natural gas by rail Senate Democrat says he is concerned intelligence community is 'bending' Soleimani presentations Democrats conflicted over how to limit Trump's war powers MORE (D-Ore.), whose race has been a rare bright spot for Democrats in a tough cycle, is launching a positive closing spot as a new independent poll shows him with a huge lead over Republican Monica Wehby.


The ad, shared first with The Hill, features Merkley speaking direct-to-camera about his humble background and commitments if elected.

"I was born in rural Oregon, my dad worked in a sawmill and I was the first in my family to go to college," Merkley says in the ad. "Middle class values — that's the reason I'm fighting for the same fair shot for every American."

He goes on to express opposition to outsourcing, support for infrastructure investment, small business investment and making college more affordable.

The ad launches as a new independent poll, conducted by Elway Research for The Oregonian and KGW, shows Merkley leading Wehby by 19 points. 

Merkley takes 49 percent support among likely voters, while Wehby draws just 30 percent. Another 3 percent chose other candidates, and 18 percent were undecided or didn't share their preferred candidate.

The survey gives Merkley a huge lead with women, 58-22 percent, and shows Wehby failing to consolidate GOP support, taking just 66 percent of Republicans.

The poll was conducted on Sunday and Monday among 403 likely voters and has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

Though Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon, was initially lauded as a strong contender able to put Oregon on the map for Republicans, her candidacy never made it off the ground. 

And despite a tough climate that has Democrats on offense in blue-leaning swing states like New Hampshire, Iowa and Colorado, Merkley is a rare Democratic incumbent this cycle that looks likely to waltz to reelection on Nov. 4.