Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyInterest rate caps are popular — for good reason Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development 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.