ND-Sen: Byron Dorgan Announces His Retirement
There really isn’t a way to spin this one in a positive light:
North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan will not run for re-election later this year, creating a major pickup opportunity for Republicans.
“After a lot of thought I have made the very difficult decision that I will not be seeking reelection in 2010,” Dorgan wrote in a memo to staff distributed this afternoon.
For months, the speculation in North Dakota was that Republican Governor John Hoeven, who has been easily re-elected to three terms as the state’s Chief Executive, would challenge Dorgan in 2010. Democrats had found a modicum of hope in the fact that Hoeven had not yet made the plunge. Much like the recent odyssey with Rudy Giuliani in New York, the sense was that an announcement was imminent in the Fall, only to be followed by lengthy silence.
If Hoeven continues to demur, the GOP can turn to a number of other potential candidates in a state where most of the statewide elected officials are affiliated with the Republican Party.
Democratic hopes may well rest on the leader of their very thin bench in North Dakota: Congressman Earl Pomeroy. But Pomeroy has been relatively secure in the House, whereas a Senate bid would certainly prove to be a greater challenge. There would likely be no small amount of reluctance on his part to give up a reasonably secure seat and two decades of seniority to start a career in the Senate at the age of 57.
Dorgan’s statement to the press read, in part, as follows:
“It has been a special privilege to serve with Senator Conrad and Congressman Pomeroy, who do an outstanding job for our state. And although he inherited an economy in serious trouble, I remain confident that President Obama is making the right decisions to put our country back on track.
Further, my decision has no relationship to the prospect of a difficult election contest this year. Frankly, I think if I had decided to run for another term in the Senate I would be reelected.
But I feel that after serving 30 years, I want to make time for some other priorities. And making a commitment to serve in the Senate for the next seven years does not seem like the right decision for me.
So, 2010 will be my last year in the Senate.
Dorgan has been in public life since his mid-twenties, when he became North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner. From there, he served a dozen years in the House before being elected to the US Senate. He coasted through easy re-elections in both 1998 and 2004.
For more discussion, see hekebolos’ diary. – BarbinMD