Oregon senator may be on the trail for a presidential bid Makes Tama Stop By John Speer Central Iowa Press jspeer@tamatoledonews.com

News-Herald/John Speer U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) talks politics with Dave Degner, rural Clutier (left) and Tama County Democrat Chair Glen Sailsbury, Dysart, at the King tower Cafe in Tama on Sunday afternoon, July 22. The senator is said to weighing a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

“Such a strange time,” U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) said as he led off an hour-long discussion with more than a dozen Tama County Democrat activists at King Tower Cafe in Tama Sunday afternoon, July 22. While not really mentioning a 2020 presidential bid, Merkley certainly gave the impression he is indeed “exploring the possibility” as a New York Times interview and CNN telecast have attributed to him. Merkley recently garnered headlines over a confrontation with the administration over the children of immigrants being held a converted Wal-Mart in Texas. Merkley said he was turned away on his first visit to the site but later returned. On the second trip he said he was accompanied by other Senate and House members and was granted access. “If my mother had 10 minutes with Donald Trump he would be a reformed man,” Merkley said in talking about his own blue-collar upbringing and the current climate he finds in Washington D.C. Merkley took aim at what he called “dark money in campaigns” claiming the Koch brothers spent $500 million in the past election. He said this overcomes “the voice of the people” in elections. “I believe you have to get in the fight, get on the battlefield,” Merkley said in urging the group to be active in the coming fall campaign for state and local offices. “Stay on the battlefield and keep fighting.” He endorsed Mindy Benson’s bid for Iowa House District 72 state representative and urged support for the three candidates seeking to unseat incumbent Republicans in the U.S. House saying Democrats could regian control of the House of representatives in the fall vote. Donnielle Wanatee sought support from Merkley during a question and answer session. Wanatee spoke of what she described as a “double jeopardy” circumstance currently in effect for the Meskwaki Settlement in which she said a person may be charged in Tribal, State and Federal courts. Merkley said the State of Oregon has many Native American Tribes and he is familiar with their efforts and the obstacles they face. Merkley’s stop in Tama was arranged by Dave Degner, rural Clutier, who lost a close race for the Democrat House 72 nomination in June. Remember, the first-in-the-nation presidential tests will again be rolling around in just…17 months.