UPDATED: Sen. Kent Conrad announces he won't run in 2012Sen. Kent Conrad announced today he won't seek reelection in 2012.
By: Forum staff reports, INFORUM
Sen. Kent Conrad announced today he won't seek reelection in 2012.
“There are serious challenges facing our state and nation, like a $14 trillion debt and America’s dependence on foreign oil," Conrad said in a statement. "It is more important I spend my time and energy trying to solve these problems than to be distracted by a campaign for reelection.”
Conrad said his two remaining years in office “will be critical." His top priorities will be to get the country on a sound fiscal course, reduce dependence on foreign energy, craft a new farm bill, advance permanent flood control for the Red River Valley and address the flooding “disaster” in the Devils Lake basin, the statement said.
“I deeply appreciate the extraordinary support I have received over the years from the people of North Dakota,” he said in the statement. “I am eternally grateful for the opportunity they have given me. It has been an honor to serve as their United States senator for the past 24 years. Working together, we’ve helped build a strong foundation for North Dakota’s future.”
Conrad also thanked his family, friends and staff for their support, as well as former Sen. Byron Dorgan, who didn’t seek reelection last year, and former Rep. Earl Pomeroy, who lost his reelection bid in November.
“It was my good fortune to serve in Congress with Byron and Earl for 18 years,” Conrad said. “We worked hard to produce results for our state and our country. It is an experience I will never forget.”
“Although I will not seek reelection, the work is not done. I will continue to do my level best for both North Dakota and the nation over the final two years of my term,” he added.
Conrad spokesman Sean Neary told The Forum the senator had been thinking “for months” about not seeking reelection, and the final decision was made over the holidays.
In a blog posting at 8:33 a.m. by Chris Cillizza, a Washington Post analyst, the writer said two informed Democratic sources confirmed Conrad’s decision.
According to the blog post:
“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.”
Cillizza also writes Conrad had been open about not running for another term, and "those doubts almost certainly increased following a 2010 election that decimated the Democratic party."
Just more than a year ago, former Sen. Byron Dorgan announced his retirement, and North Dakota voters filled the seat this past fall by electing John Hoeven.