A key Democratic Senator from a state that reliably votes for Republicans in Presidential elections says he won’t seek reelection in 2010.
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND, will have served 18 years in the Senate and 12 in the House of Representatives when he steps down at the end of his current term.
This would have been a tough seat for Democrats to defend even with Dorgan on the ballot and is perhaps a boon to Republicans looking to eat into Democrats’ majorities in 2010.
Says Dorgan in a paper statement: “…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.”
And Dorgan says his decision has nothing to do with the tough electoral landscape facing Democrats.
“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,” he says.
“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,” he says.
Republicans are clearly hoping to use the Dorgan retirement to push a larger narrative about the tough political environment facing Democrats this year.
“This development is indicative of the difficult environment and slumping approval ratings that Democrats face as a result of their out of control tax-and-spend agenda in Washington, and we fully intend to capitalize on this opportunity by continuing to recruit strong candidates who can win these seats in November,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director Brian Walsh.