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Dem Byron Dorgan to Retire from the Senate

January 5, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Big, big news from Sen. Byron Dorgan [D, ND] this afternoon. His current term expires at the end of this year, and he won’t be seeking re-election to another.

Here’s an excerpt from the announcemnt published on his website:

“Although I still have a passion for public service and enjoy my work in the Senate, I have other interests and I have other things I would like to pursue outside of public life. I have written two books and have an invitation from a publisher to write two more books. I would like to do some teaching and would also like to work on energy policy in the private sector.

“So, over this holiday season, I have come to the conclusion, with the support of my family, that I will not be seeking another term in the U.S. Senate in 2010. It is a hard decision to make after thirty years in the Congress, but I believe it is the right time for me to pursue these other interests.

Dorgan, who is currently in his third Senate term, is generally considered a moderate, but he has been a much more reliable vote for the Democrats than one would expect from a senator serving a state that supported John McCain over Barack Obama by a nine-point margin in 2008, and voted for Bush by a higher than 27% margin in ‘00 and ’04.

Dorgan’s retirement suddenly makes the North Dakota Class III seat a likely pick-up for Republicans in the next Senate session. A recent poll put out by Rasmussen showed Dorgan trailing in 2010 by a 58%-36% margin against third-term Republican North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, who Republicans have been trying to recruit as a candidate. Dorgan’s retirement makes it a lot more likely that Hoeven will run.

Some of his recent key votes include a vote against the Wall St. bailout bill (H.R.1424), against cap and trade (S.Amdt.4825), and against the FISA bill that gave telco companies immunity for their illegal spying on Americans (H.R.6304). He is probably best known for his strong opposition in the 90’s to repealing the New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial banking from investment banking.

You can see Dorgan’s full voting record here and compare his voting record to other senators here. You can also follow OpenCongress’ uniquely aggregated coverage of Dorgan and his retirement in the news and the blogs.

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