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Dorgan to retire

North Dakota Democratic 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. "This decision is not a reflection of any dissatisfaction with my work in the Senate, nor is it connected to a potential election contest next fall (frankly, I believe if I were to run for another term I would be reelected)."

Dorgan was facing a potentially serious re-election race against Gov. John Hoeven (R) in November. He was first elected to the Senate in 1992 and, despite the clear GOP lean of the state, hadn't faced a serious re-election challenge since then.

Dorgan is the first Democratic senator to announce his retirement this cycle. Six Republican senators, in Florida, Ohio, Missouri, New Hampshire, Kansas and Kentucky, are not running for re-election in 2010.

"Senator Dorgan should be very proud of his more than 30 years of devoted service in the United States Congress and to the people of North Dakota," President Obama said in a statement.

While Dorgan insisted his decision had nothing to do with political calculations, his retirement is likely to have considerable impact on the national landscape -- coming less than a month removed from similar retirement announcements by four Democrats sitting in conservative districts.

"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 Brian Walsh, communications director at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Democrats acknowledged privately that Dorgan's decision was a significant blow although they quickly pivoted to note that the party would field a candidate. The only obvious name for Democrats is Rep. Earl Pomeroy who has held the state's at-large seat since 1992 when Dorgan ascended to the Senate.

Hoeven would be the strongest candidate for Republicans and, although he had long been somewhat ambivalent about a run for Senate, might be swayed given the fact he would enter the race as a strong favorite.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 5, 2010; 6:00 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

Of all of them, the loss of Dorgan will be the greatest. He voted against the Iraq War, he voted against the repeal of the Glass/Stegal Act, and was one of the quiet warriors of the Democratic Party. I wish he could be persuaded to stay and continue the fight, but I also recognize the futility of being the nicest guy in a room full of zealots and sycophants. He had the thing we need the most - integrity.

Posted by: cynthia3217 | January 6, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Given their massively unpopular, extremist positions and actions, the loony-left d-crat socialists up for re-election in 2010 have only two choices: resign or be thrown out of office by real Americans. Given their nature, most of the loonies will, like dodd and dorgan, take the cowards way out and resign.

Posted by: StopSocialism | January 6, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Dodd just doesn't want to end up like Fat Ted... brain-dead and being paraded around like some corpulent marionette, his handlers waving his arm on his behalf from the back of an SUV for the TV cameras, in support of the unseemly bloat that is Healthcare reform. Smart move getting out before the whole bottom falls out of the Capitol.

Posted by: floyddabarber | January 6, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

This is great, shows that vulnerable Dems and NOT SO vulnerable Dems are nervous and heading for the exits.

NOW, let's get Republican Scott Brown elected in Massachusettes. After Kennedy passed away, the Dems in Mass. cynically changed their own state law a SECOND time to enable their Dem. Governor Deval Patrick to APPOINT a senator to fill Kennedy's seat temporarily rather than have to wait for a special election - all this to assure a Dem in that position to keep their 60th vote in the Senate for the Health-Care jamdown.

So, now that special election will actually happen January 19th between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown. Mass. is a reliably Democrat state, but Brown is now within 9% points, according to Rasmussen, and Republicans are highly motivated to vote whereas Dems are dispirited and won't have that huge minority and youth vote out this time.

WE CAN ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE in this race! Go NOW and send 25 or 50 bucks to Scott Brown and help him win this seat and get that 41st seat so that Mitch McConnell will be able to filibuster the stuff that is coming down the pike, maybe even stop the health-care jamdown if he can delay the vote until Scott Brown is seated!

This election will happen January 19th - just around the corner. Scott Brown needs money to get his message out with paid advertising. We all complain that we can do anything about what goes on in Washington, but we CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE here and now. Please donate NOW at brownforsenate.com : http://www.brownforussenate.com/

I am in Virginia where Bob McDonnell won BIG in November. Christie won big in New Jersey in November. Let's get that win in Massachusettes to derail the Dem stranglehold on the Senate!

A Republican win in Mass is a win for the entire country! - More information at Free Republic: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2420789/posts

Thanks from Dan in Richmond, VA!

Posted by: baribunma | January 6, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

This is just amazing, Bernie Madoff goes to jail, Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd get to retire and keep receiving our tax dollars through government pensions, health care and other perks. It doesnt matter that they are partially responsible for the banking melt down, the $13trillion debt and every other problems we are dealing with today. Letting these people get away with looting the federal government and destroying lives is disappointing. It shows that these people really are above the law! Read Destructive Politics the book to understand the power corruption and lies politicians practice on a daily basis.

Posted by: destructivepolitics | January 6, 2010 4:11 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice the comments are screwed up tonight? Most of the time, I get a blank page. Looking at the comments here, there are many multiples. Five double or treble posts in this short thread alone.

Post IT folks--fix it, STAT!

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 6, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Interestingly enough, I've just finished a Star Wars I- III marathon....there are interestingly similarities between today and the fall of the Galactic Republic...I doubt Obama is a Sith lord lol, but Pelosi...hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Posted by: TreeOfLiberty2 | January 6, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Drip, drip, drip....the Dems need a plumber...their tank is draining on the Hill

Posted by: TreeOfLiberty2 | January 6, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

IT SADDENS ME that Sen. Dorgan has chosen to call it quits because THIS is the year were were going to KICK HIM OUT. Anybody want to wager he will never live in North Dakota again? He has a "vacation" place somewhere else and he'd just as well go where his heart is. (He's a senator "FROM" North Dakota.) Bye bye and don't let the door hit you...

Posted by: demotramp | January 5, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

IT SADDENS ME that Sen. Dorgan has chosen to call it quits because THIS is the year were were going to KICK HIM OUT. Anybody want to wager he will never live in North Dakota again? He has a "vacation" place somewhere else and he'd just as well go where his heart has been. (He's a senator "FROM" North Dakota.) Bye bye and don't let the door hit you...

Posted by: demotramp | January 5, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Moderate Dems don't have to cave into to the Far Left kooks who have taken over the party.
He could start by saying "NO" to the bribery and deceit of the Dem Leadership and show some character by refusing to vote for the
Health "Reform" bill.
Is it too much to ask Congressional Democrats to demonstrate
a little integrity?

Posted by: KACU | January 5, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

We'll miss his wit and wisdom, his sage advice, his classic good looks . . . aw, I'm just screwing with you, nobody gives a crap.

Posted by: Rob_ | January 5, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

We'll miss his wit and wisdom, his sage advice, his classic good looks . . . aw, I'm just screwing with you, nobody gives a crap.

Posted by: Rob_ | January 5, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Mr Dorgan,

Please do the right thing for the nation on your way. Denounce the Obama, Pelosi, Reid way of doing business behind closed doors and against the will of the majority of Americans. Vote against cap and trade and the health care bill as currently written.

Do the right thing. Do the right thing. Please, please do the right thing.

Posted by: ac7880 | January 5, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Mr Dorgan,

Please do the right thing for the nation on your way. Denounce the Obama, Pelosi, Reid way of doing business behind closed doors and against the will of the majority of Americans. Vote against cap and trade and the health care bill as currently written.

Do the right thing. Do the right thing. Please, please do the right thing.

Posted by: ac7880 | January 5, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Mr Dorgan,

Please do the right thing for the nation on your way. Denounce the Obama, Pelosi, Reid way of doing business behind closed doors and against the will of the majority of Americans. Vote against cap and trade and the health care bill as currently written.

Do the right thing. Do the right thing. Please, please do the right thing.

Posted by: ac7880 | January 5, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

The more the merrier. Hope Republicans take a lot of seats back. I am tired of the sleazy Democrats in Congress. They have no respect for the position that they hold. The Democrats just lie and get away with a lot of dirty politics without anybody showing any concerns. At least with Republicans you know what you are getting. That is why even though I am a latina, I will rather have a Republican in office.

Posted by: hdl549 | January 5, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

It's going to be a good deal for him - terrific retirement health care benefits and retirement. Have you heard of the proposed 28th Amendment that will restrict Congress from getting these benefits?

Posted by: ggmyers | January 5, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

def. of fascism: a regime that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition. That's what I'm seeing with these Democrat morons in this Obamacare "shoving it down our throats," legislation. And we thought that Musolini was the LAST FASCIST!

Posted by: joecar1949 | January 5, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

def. of fascism: a regime that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition. That's what I'm seeing with these Democrat morons in this Obamacare "shoving it down our throats," legislation. And we thought that Musolini was the LAST FASCIST!

Posted by: joecar1949 | January 5, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

def. of fascism: a regime that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition. That's what I'm seeing with these Democrat morons in this Obamacare "shoving it down our throats," legislation. And we thought that Musolini was the LAST FASCIST!

Posted by: joecar1949 | January 5, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully he will vote against this healthcare bill before he goes & help save America from a forced rationed, socialized, government run bill. Maybe he is tired of seeing so many Democrats getting their arms twisted to do what Obamo, Pelosi, & Reid wants. May more senators listen very closely to their constituents want & realize that this administration is out to destroy America & the American people. I am beginning to think that if these representatives do not realize that they work for us not Pelosi, Reid, or Obama. Maybe this is a little ray of light in this.

Posted by: egw7777 | January 5, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

CC,
Thanks yet again for the scoop.

I think Hoeven is ambivalent toward the Senate seat (which is his if he wants it) because he harbors Presidential ambitions. Getting elected POTUS as an R Senator is not as easy as getting elected as an R Governor.

Posted by: mnteng | January 5, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

From Sen. Dorgan's statement, regarding the priorities he will continue to work on this year:
"We need to get the economic engine restarted and put people back to work. We need to reform our financial system to make sure that which happened to cause this deep recession will not happen again. And we need to get our fiscal and budget policies under control. The federal budget deficits are not sustainable."

Notice "healthcare reform" in there? Me neither.
He's going to torpedo the bill. Wait and see.

Posted by: OttoDog | January 5, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

From Sen. Dorgan's statement, regarding the priorities he will continue to work on this year:
"We need to get the economic engine restarted and put people back to work. We need to reform our financial system to make sure that which happened to cause this deep recession will not happen again. And we need to get our fiscal and budget policies under control. The federal budget deficits are not sustainable."

Notice "healthcare reform" in there? Me neither.
He's going to torpedo the bill. Wait and see.

Posted by: OttoDog | January 5, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Special election in MA is now a single digit race with all the Big-Mo going to Brown the Republican, who's cut Coakley's lead by more than 50% in two weeks. Now "moderate" dems in both the House and Senate are peeling away, either through retirement or changing parties. Looks like it's time to start moving desks back over to the republican side of the aisle. Enjoy this while you can libs. You're days in charge can be measured by less than a year. See ya.

Posted by: ttttt1 | January 5, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

From Sen. Dorgan's statement, regarding the priorities he will continue to work on this year:
"We need to get the economic engine restarted and put people back to work. We need to reform our financial system to make sure that which happened to cause this deep recession will not happen again. And we need to get our fiscal and budget policies under control. The federal budget deficits are not sustainable."

Notice "healthcare reform" in there? Me neither.
He's going to torpedo the bill. Wait and see,

Posted by: OttoDog | January 5, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

See where Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota is retiring. It is a shame that the American people won't get a chance to vote him out of office. He ought not be allowed to vote on any issue that requires tax dollars or North Dakota for he rest of his term.

Posted by: tonyjm | January 5, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/01/north-dakota-1-with-bullet.html

"If I'd applied my Most Valuable Democrat methodology to the Senate rather than the House, Byron Dorgan would have been a pretty good candidate for the #1 position. Although he's not quite a rank-and-file liberal, he's more progressive than his colleague in the Senate, Kent Conrad, and way more progressive than you'd ordinarily expect of a Senator from a Prairie State, Democrat or otherwise. But today, he announced his intention to retire.

This is un-spinnably bad news for the Democrats, and North Dakota advances to the #1 position in our Senate race rankings. Perhaps this means that John Hoeven was going to challenge Dorgan for the Senate seat anyway and perhaps it doesn't. But in either case, Hoeven's entry into the Senate race would now seem likely and Democratic hopes are probably contingent upon Hoeven not running and Earl Pomeroy, North Dakota's at-large representative, so doing, a rather dicey parlay in what will likely be a bad national environment for the Democrats."

Not much more I can add. Terrible news for Dems.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 5, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Looks like people are leaving DC as fast as they can make up an excuse to retire. I say vote them all out and start again. Starting with Obama and Pelosi. This is the biggest mess I have ever seen be done in Washington. This must be an inside joke that only Pelosi understands since she is always laughing about it. They say illegal aliens makeup 1/3 of the people they are trying to get insurance for. Why would we bankrupt the country doing that. Because that is what they are doing. What they have done is NOT provide insurance for all LEGALLY here. According to Obama he is for a comprehensive health care bill to cover all AMERICANS. I thought that was what they were suppose to be doing. I would rather see them JUNK what they have done than give us what they have.

Posted by: lindagee7 | January 5, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Two known things drove this decision, one was being 20 points behind, the other was not getting re-import of drugs into the healthcare bill. The Dems should take up his call out of respect to the 30 years of service in the Senate. The Senate he served in had the McCain's acting like Alan Simpson, not the Cheney's. You had great House leadership in Tip O'Neill, that would not try a failed impeachment attempt for political points for Iran-Contra and drag our countries name through the mud. The GOP and Dems have such a terrible discourse towards each other good ideas are put aside. Tort reform without caps but the innocent get their costs paid would end ambulance chasing and defensive medicine. Chasing the money stolen by contractors in Iraq is not pursued by the GOP as hard as Democrats. Doing what is best for the party and not in the interests of the people should make we the protest where it counts, at the ballot box.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 5, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Hardly a sign of impending doom for the Dems given that Dorgan was weak to begin with. Not as big a deal as the media is making of it.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | January 5, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

"Rats and a sinking ship...."

Posted by: OttoDog | January 5, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully he leaves sooner rather than later. Under current North Dakota law, Gov. Hoeven (R) would make an appointment to fill any vacant Senate seat until the next regularly-scheduled general election. At that point, a candidate is elected and serves for the remainder of the unexpired term, if any.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the rats are deserting a sinking ship. At last, hope and change we really can believe in!

Posted by: NCIndependent | January 5, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Congress has made their jobs unnecessarily hard by getting involved in things that they are not supposed to be and it is wearing to continue to be universally hated. More and more, we are seeing these people take their money and run.

It still doesn't take much to live in North Dakota. You can live like a king on the Senate's retirement benefits and take trips to warmer climates when the weather gets too bad. Add salaries from nonprofits, speaking engagements funded by the corporatists that you aided while in office, ala Bill Clinton, and directors salaries from a few of the same companies and you can die a very wealthy man.

Posted by: websmith1 | January 5, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Great news.
Old Helmet Head has probably filched all the money he thinks he can, so he's jumping ship, before he gets clobbered.

Good riddance.

Posted by: LarryG62 | January 5, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse


There is hope.

There will be change.

Bye bye, Byron!

Posted by: DagnyT | January 5, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Is it because of his ties to Abramoff and/or polling from December 2009 that showed Gov. Hoeven (R) with a 58%-36% lead over the incumbent Democratic Senator? Can Gov. Hoeven appoint himself to the Senate?

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

he's wanting a pay raise, he's going to be a lobbiest for company willing to pay for contracts and legislation.

Posted by: mhalligan83 | January 5, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to Mr. Bad Comb-over.

Posted by: jethro1 | January 5, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
~Hermann Goering~

“The trouble with radicals is that they only read radical literature, and the trouble with conservatives is that they don't read anything”
~Thomas Nixon Carver~

“In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”
~Napoleon Bonaparte~

“Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.”
~Will Rogers~

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
~Joseph Goebbels~

“It is more difficult to organize a peace than to win a war; but the fruits of victory will be lost if the peace is not organized.”
~Aristotle~

“This is an impressive crowd: the Have's and Have-more's. Some people call you the elites. I call you my base.”
~George W. Bush~

“Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other”
~Oscar Ameringer~

“Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”
~Ronald Reagan~

Posted by: samxstreampools | January 5, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

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