Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats introduce legislation to strike slavery exception in 13th Amendment Overnight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Supreme Court declines to hear case challenging unlimited super PAC fundraising MORE, the candidate backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to take on Sen. Gordon Smith (R), beat upstart Steve Novick in a tightly contested primary in Oregon Tuesday.

Merkley had 46 percent of the vote to Novick's 41 percent with two-thirds of the vote counted, according to The Oregonian.

Novick, a Harvard Law graduate with a hook for a left hand, had promised to bring more change to the Senate than Merkley, the state House Speaker. Merkley pointed to his liberal legislative accomplishments in defending the environment and increasing funding for public education.