Merkley likely to Defeat Smith

Jeff Merkley appears likely to defeat Gordon Smith in Oregon’s tight U.S. Senate race.

With an estimated three quarters of the vote counted at 8:18 pm, Merkley had come from behind for a 0.5 percentage point lead of 8,270 votes.

With late counted returns in Lane and Multnomah counties heavily favoring Merkley, it appears mathematically unlikely that Smith could make up the deficit.

At 7:33 pm, the Oregonian projected a Merkley victory. Smith has not conceded.

State law triggers an automatic recount if the margin is less that 0.2 percent.