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Sen. Dorgan to Endorse Obama

[Photo]
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) (AP)

By Paul Kane
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) told The Trail moments ago that he will be endorsing Barack Obama for president this afternoon, becoming the 10th senator to officially endorse the Illinois senator's bid for the Democratic nomination.

"I decided I wanted to determine who out there can inspire people to move in a new direction," Dorgan said, deciding that Obama was that candidate.

Dorgan had been neutral in the race even as his close fried, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), became an early backer of Obama's. Sources told "The Trail" back in January that former president Bill Clinton had called Dorgan to try to gain his support for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), or at least refrain from endorsing Obama.

Earlier this month, Obama swept the North Dakota caucuses with 62 percent of the vote, another factor in Dorgan's decision. In previous presidential elections, Dorgan has been angry with Democrats such as Al Gore who virtually ignored states like North Dakota, something he believes Obama will not do.

"He starts this campaign not being willing give up any state," Dorgan said.

An official announcement from Obama's campaign is forthcoming, and Dorgan said he would issue a full statement this afternoon. He may try to meet up with the candidate on the campaign trail this weekend.

Clinton has 13 Senate colleagues who have endorsed her candidacy. If Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) is counted for Obama -- he has said he personally voted for Obama and will support him as a super delegate since he won Wisconsin -- the Illinois senator would have 11 backers inside the Senate.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 27, 2008; 12:49 PM ET
 
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Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

InspectorOh,

I was living in North Dakota in 1995, and the speculation that Dorgan was thinking about switching parties was almost non-existent there. Maybe the DC chattering class was all over it, but none of his constituents were taking it seriously. Dorgan was and is the dominant figure in the ND Dem. party, and it's hard to imagine him crossing the aisle.

That said, Dorgan has sometimes had to stray from the party line. He has to campaign in a really red state, and he knows it. That's why you'll sometimes see him voting against a gun-control bill, or for a balanced-budget amendment. He's been winning elections in ND for a generation, and he knows you can't go too far afield of your consituents.

Personally, I think that may explain why he's decided to endorse Obama. He knows what it means to run as a Democrat in a red state. Maybe he's trying to back a candidate who can still compete in states where being a Dem. is otherwise a dicey proposition.

Posted by: nathanirwin | February 27, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

ddraper81 like your prince, you are mighty hard to follow...

Posted by: cowpatti | February 27, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

you think bill & hillary dont have longgg memories. get even time is coming. and it aint going to be pretty....

Posted by: barbaraheinly | February 27, 2008 03:22 PM
------------------------------

And that is exactly why they were shoved in the hole that they are in. What Senator Obama showed the American people was that he did not care who they "were" or who they thought they are - - he was not afraid of them. He people courage. They surmised that if this guy (Barack Obama)was courageous enough to go up against them with no odds in his favor, and then not only beat them, but actually annahilate them, not trying to beat them at their own game, but rather establishing a whole new "thing" it had to acknowledged and they want to be with him.

Posted by: ddraper81 | February 27, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

you think bill & hillary dont have longgg memories. get even time is coming. and it aint going to be pretty....

Posted by: cowpatti | February 27, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The Dorgan endorsement is not surprising given Senator Obama's Mid-West support. Here is a bit of intrigue. In 1995, Senator Dorgan was part of a small group of Capitol Hill Democrats that it was speculated might switch party affiliations when the Republicans took over. He didn't, but a few did (most notably, Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse-Campbell). On a side note, Politico has Obama's US Senate endorsement count at 14 and Senator Clinton's at 12.

Posted by: InspectorOh | February 27, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Another one leaves the Clintons' ship; the rats know when to leave a sinking vessel.

Posted by: meldupree | February 27, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

With the economy having become American's #1 issue, it would be good for the Obama campaign to point out that both McCain and Clinton, within the year, have both bankrupted their campaigns. McCain lived high on the hog when he first started running, and went broke, and Clinton, who raised more money than Obama last year, also mismanaged her campaign finances, and ran out of money last month.

America should elect Obama, the candidate who has run the most fiscally responsible campaign.

Posted by: julieds | February 27, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Before next week is over the Senator count should be in Obama's favor. Pretty impressive seeing that Bill, as president had relationships with a lot of Hillary's supporters, and that most of those came out for her before Obama's candidacy was very viable.

Posted by: tim_gregory | February 27, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that the focus is the last paragraph. 'Avoid and misdirect.' There are more interesting points to ponder. Dorgan obviously feels that Clinton cannot bring people together as much as Obama. Dorgan also appears to feel that Obama did more to make North Dakota feel like their voices mattered. A message that Clinton only portrayed after she was losing ground, and then only in the "BIG" states. Why did she not feel this strongly about North Dakota, Kansas, Idaho, etc.?

Oh because they are not Democratic states in the General?

In the immortal words of Yoda: "That is why you fail."

Posted by: chumbakarumba | February 27, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Ah, O.K., in that case, I had drafted a post listing all of Hillary's Senate endorsements -- just to be fair and balanced about it -- I deleted that in favor of simply noting Hillary still had more. Sorry that upset you.

Posted by: JakeD | February 27, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

walter.bond:

Who is Chris?

Posted by: JakeD | February 27, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

correction, I meant to say Paul instead of Chris.

Posted by: walterbond | February 27, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I think before it is all over you can put in the bank that many more Senators will back Obama so the math that applies today? Will be like comparing the math from January 1 to now....in Obamas favor. The majority of the American public is speaking and Senators and Superdelagates are listening.

Posted by: Bulldoglover100 | February 27, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

JakeD and crd203 what are you guys' deal? Do you get rocks off of messing with Chris? There are certainly worse resporters out there on the internet to rip apart. You just look silly. He wasn't trying to say that 10 (or 11) is equal to 13. He was making the point that Obama has close to as many Senate endorsements as Clinton. The point/implication is that Clinton is seeing her strong establishment support wither away. Get a life.

Posted by: walterbond | February 27, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Iraq resolution vote: Dorgan (D-ND), Yea.

I wonder if this bothers Obama. The Daschle, Kerry, and Dodd votes didn't seem to. Maybe it will not bother him. They probably won't ever run for the same ticket.

Posted by: Midwestreader1 | February 27, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

All aboard! Last call! All passengers aboard the good ship, "SS Obama". Departing Clinton City. Arriving at McCaintown. Get your ticket while you can, they're going fast.

Posted by: WallyWutMD | February 27, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I mastered 1-13 fairly early on (before the "New Math" hit schools at least ; )

Posted by: JakeD | February 27, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Guess being first in your Stanford Law class of 1961 grants you those excellent math skills, eh?

Posted by: crd203 | February 27, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

10 "official" Senate endorsements is still less than 13 (I like how you try and count Feingold as #11 though ; )

Posted by: JakeD | February 27, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

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