J-Street-backed Merkley wins

A U.S. Senate candidate who was the favorite of a dovish pro-Israel lobbying group won in Oregon.
U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) on Thursday conceded the race to Jeff Merkley, the Democratic speaker of the state house. Merkley was the top beneficiary of the J Street political action committee, receiving at least $91,000 in donations from the group, which backs increased U.S. engagement in Middle East peacemaking.
Merkley had been considered a long shot when he entered the race a year ago, but the hard-hit economy and the deep unpopularity of the Bush administration in the Pacific Northwest made his bid viable, drawing millions of dollars in donations from around the country.
 

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