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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Facing an unexpectedly tough challenge to hold onto his seat, Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley called on help from fellow Senator Elizabeth Warren.

The Massachusetts Democrat is popular with liberal activists. She has a singular ability to excite Merkley's base and help him build his fundraising lead over his Republican rival, Portland neurosurgeon Monica Wehby.

Merkley and Warren appeared together at a fundraiser at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Portland on Wednesday. A spokesman for Merkley says tickets cost $100.

During her appearance, Warren told the crowd she needed Merkley re-elected to help her take on the big banks.

At Wednesday's event, Merkley also said he wanted to work towards fixing the economy.

Merkley currently holds a 10-point lead over Wehby.

Republicans hope Wehby can help them reverse their fortunes in Oregon, a solidly Democratic state.

Wehby has made her opposition to President Barack Obama's health care law a centerpiece of her campaign. But she's been distracted recently by reports that her ex-husband and a former boyfriend called police as their relationships were deteriorating.

More: Wehby: My divorce 'no relevance' to Senate run

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