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With just eight days until ballots drop in Oregon, the time is NOW to come together and oust Republican Gordon Smith and replace him with progressive Democrat Jeff Merkley. Tonight is the first of two scheduled debates between Merkley and Smith. Merkley challenged Smith to eight debates, but of course, Gordon Smith only agreed to two. Before the debate began, there was a HUGE rally outside the KGW studio in Portland, Oregon. Follow me below the fold....

Full disclosure, I am the netroots director for OR-Sen candidate Jeff Merkley

When I arrived at the KGW studio, there was a huge crowd outside showing their support for Jeff Merkley. The entire block was lined with Merkley supporters. It's no surprise that the rain can't keep these Oregonians away......

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This crafty Oregonian was ready for the rain:

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House Speaker Jeff Merkley arrives!

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Merkley Needs Your Help

Before I begin liveblogging the debate, I want to say a little something to my fellow Kossacks. Before I joined the Merkley Campaign, I spent most of my time blogging about candidates here at Kos and elsewhere that I believed would champion progressive causes. I have never been prouder to advocate on behalf of House Speaker Jeff Merkley and be a part of this campaign. He IS a staunch progressive Democrat who showed leadership skills in the Oregon House that blew me away. He is a progressive coalition builder, which is exactly the type of Democrat we desperately need in the Senate. I'm asking you to join me and help elect Merkley, and I can guarantee you, that you will be proud to have helped send Jeff to the Senate for years to come.

Republican Gordon Smith is being propped by big oil and big pharma while Jeff Merkley depends on grassroots support. We're being outspent by the millions, and we need your help to be able to compete with Smith's war chest. Please consider donating to the Kossacks for Merkley Act Blue Page. If you live in Oregon, we need your voice. Please consider hitting the pavement and making phone calls or telling your friends about the Oregon race. On election night, getting 60 votes in the Senate may come down to Oregon.

Debate IS ON!

If you'd like to watch the debate live, go here. Or, stick around and participate in the liveblog thread below. Go Merkley!

Originally posted to sarahlane on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 06:55 PM PDT.

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