Oregon: Merkley edges Smith

The Democrats add a sixth Senate seat, matching (so far) their 2006 gains.

Published November 6, 2008 3:13AM (EST)

Winning just eight counties statewide, but winning them by sufficient margins (most notably Portland's Multnomah County), Democrat Jeff Merkley has beaten incumbent Republican Sen. Gordon Smith in Oregon, as declared by the Oregonian.

That makes six Democratic pickups, already equal to the party's 2006 gains. If Al Franken wins the recount in Minnesota, it would push to 58 seats Harry Reid's majority total.

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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