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Greetings Daily Kos! I’m glad to be back blogging with you again and I’m also grateful for your warm reception to my wife Mary. There are only 12 days left until election day and Oregonians have already begun voting all across the state. In these final days before the election, I’m asking for your help, your support, and your voice to help us get the working majority we all have been fighting for in the Senate.

The race here in Oregon has really heated up in the last couple months. The most recent polling has me running slightly ahead of my opponent Gordon Smith, but the race is still very close. Right-wing groups like Karl Rove’s FreedomsWatch know that one of their reliable Republican votes is in trouble so they’re pulling out all the stops to keep him in power.

Smith and his rightwing cronies are covering the airwaves with misleading attacks on my record as House Speaker. The Smith Campaign has run the worst smear campaign our state has ever seen, even going as far as saying I’m on the side of rapists. I’m a father of two young kids and these kinds of character attacks are beyond shameful. I’m here today because I need your help to fight back. I will never be able to raise the kind of money Smith receives from his special interest friends. But, with your help, I can get my message out to Oregonians.

I am a proud progressive Democrat. As Oregon’s House Speaker, I led the most aggressive, progressive and productive session we’ve ever had. Under my leadership, and with a one vote majority, we passed sweeping environmental legislation, domestic partnerships legislation, we kicked out the payday lenders, passed ethics reform, doubled financial aid for college students and lowered drug prices for our seniors. I loved working in the Oregon legislature and am very proud to have helped put Oregon back on track. But, how far can one state go when the entire nation is off track?

Our nation needs Barack Obama in the White House. Obama also needs a Congress who will fight with him to end the war and make serious investments in a green energy economy.  Obama needs a Congress who isn’t afraid to stand up to the big insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies in order to pass universal health care. I stood up to them in Oregon and I’m ready to take them on at the federal level.

My opponent Gordon Smith has consistently supported the Iraq War, supports immunity for telecommunications companies and supported wiretapping American citizens. He’s even attacking me for advocating for fair trade deals with enforceable environmental and labor regulations. Gordon Smith will work to block Obama’s agenda for change every step of the way. So, I’m asking you, the community of Daily Kos, the netroots, please help me defeat Republican Gordon Smith.

You can depend on me to fight for a progressive agenda every step of the way.  I will fight for a cleaner environment, I will fight to end the biggest foreign policy blunder of our time and I will never hesitate to protect your civil liberties. I will not sit by while our nation’s reputation is drug through the mud with torture, secret prisons, the trampling of the Geneva Convention, and the repeal of Habeas Corpus.  I will work to strengthen the rights of our workers because I know that the foundation of the American dream is a good paying job.

If you live in Oregon please consider volunteering for our campaign, we need your help getting our message out to voters. And, please consider contributing to my campaign through the Kossacks for Merkley Act Blue Page that my netroots coordinator set up for our campaign. Every little bit helps us fight back against Gordon Smith’s smear tactics. You can count on me to be your progressive voice if elected to the Senate. I promise you that. But, to get there, I need your help. Thank you!

For Oregon,

Jeff Merkley

Originally posted to Jeff Merkley on Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 12:05 PM PDT.

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