A state representative has joined the race for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley.
Jason Conger of Bend said Tuesday the economy is sputtering, and he will focus on job creation if he's sent to Washington, D.C.
The 45-year-old Conger was elected to the state House in 2010 and re-elected two years later.
With Democrats outnumbering Republicans in Oregon, Conger acknowledged he's a longshot to beat Merkley. First, he'll have to beat a Republican field that includes at least four other candidates.
Conger says Merkley has been missing in action during his first term, focusing on "obscure procedural technicalities" instead of improving the lives of struggling Oregonians.
The Merkley campaign says the senator has been fighting to create good jobs and make college more affordable.