Former Linn County GOP chair to challenge Merkley

Former Linn County GOP chair to challenge Merkley
Jo Rae Perkins.

ALBANY, Ore. (AP) — The former chair of the Linn County Republican Party says she'll challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Jo Rae Perkins announced her candidacy on Friday. Echoing themes from the tea party movement, Perkins says she would adhere strictly to the U.S. Constitution.

A biography says Perkins was a financial adviser, banker and real-estate agent. She recently returned to college and graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor's degree in political science.

One other Republican, Mark Callahan of Salem, has filed candidate papers with the Federal Election Commission for the 2014 Senate race.

Merkley is preparing for a re-election campaign but hasn't made a formal announcement.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.