Oregon State Rep. Jason Conger (R-Bend) announced on Tuesday morning that he will seek to unseat U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley in the November 2014 election.

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Oregon State Rep. Jason Conger (R-Bend) on Tuesday announces his intention to unseat U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley. Conger's speech at the Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City used the Oregon Trail as a metaphor for the difficulty and rewards of a statewide campaign.Conger, 45, publicly revealed his intention to seek his party’s nomination in front of dozens of supporters during an Oct. 15 speech at the Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City.

Conger’s district lost many of its rural and more conservative voters after the 2010 election with subsequent redistricting, so he surprised some pundits by winning re-election in 2012. A business attorney, he is a founder and principal of Cornerstone Realty Holdings, a company that acquires and manages multifamily properties.

“It’s time someone actually stood up for working men, women and families in Oregon instead of serving Washington insiders and special interests,” he said. “Even as our economy sputters through an uneven recovery, the government has shut down and all we see in Washington is partisan posturing and inefficient, ineffective governing.”

In a recent letter to constituents, Merkley characterized the federal shutdown as the tactics of a small group of fringe Republicans trying to undermine U.S. laws “under threat of harm to hard-working Americans.”

Having lived in a singlewide trailer with no heat in the winter or homeless without money for food, Conger argued that he understands real-world problems.