Kent Conrad to retire in 2012

by
January 19, 2011

By Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post

North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad announced today that he will not seek reelection, creating a potentially prime pickup opportunity for Republicans in a GOP-leaning state.

“After months of consideration, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2012,” Conrad said in a letter to constituents. “There are serious challenges facing our state and nation, like a $14 trillion debt and America’s dependence on foreign oil. It is more important I spend my time and energy trying to solve these problems than to be distracted by a campaign for reelection.”

President Obama said in a statement that he was “saddened” about the news of Conrad’s retirement but added: “I look forward to working with him during the next two years on the important issues facing our country.”

Conrad, who currently chairs the Senate Budget Committee, has been in office since 1986 and risen to become one of the most influential — and intellectual — policy makers operating in the nation’s capital.

Conrad had been open about his ambivalence about running for another term and had taken several actions in recent months that suggested he was leaning against running again.

Conrad turned down a chance to chair the Senate Agriculture Committee — an industry of huge import in North Dakota — to stay on at the helm of the Budget committee and supported the debt commission report, a decision that would have almost certainly put him in political hot water in the context of a political campaign.

Those doubts almost certainly increased following a 2010 election that decimated the Democratic party.

To read more, visit: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/senate/kent-conrad-to-retire.html

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