Oregon Democratic U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley has drawn his first challenger for the 2014 U.S. Senate race. Republican businesswoman Jo Rae Perkins announced Friday that she's seeking the GOP nomination in next year's election.
Perkins has never held elected office but has chaired the Linn County Republican Party.
In a press conference outside the Oregon capitol in Salem, Perkins described herself as socially and fiscally conservative. "I'm not an elitist. I'm not a wealthy woman," she said. "I'm a hard-working woman married to a carpet installation contractor."