Byron Dorgan to Retire from the Senate
by Jonathan Singer, Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:23:12 PM EST
There's no way of spinning this as good news for the Democrats:
Sen. Byron Dorgan, a 18-year veteran Democrat, dropped a late-day bombshell, announcing he will retire when his term ends this year. Dorgan's announcement represents an opportunity for Republicans: North Dakota is a Republican-leaning state, where President Obama got just 45% of the vote last year.
While it's true Barack Obama earned a higher share of the vote in North Dakota than any Democratic presidential nominee in more than 30 years (fully 9 percentage points better than John Kerry's showing in the state) and that the state's congressional delegation is entirely Democratic at present, it's hard to see the Democrats holding on to this seat without Byron Dorgan as their nominee. It's possible that Democrat Earl Pomeroy, who has been elected nine times statewide as Congressman, most recently with 62 percent of the vote (and even with 52 percent of the vote in the GOP-friendly 2002 midterms), could win -- but really only if the state's Republican Governor John Hoeven doesn't run. Tough news for the Senate Democrats (though, it's still worth noting, not news that means they're likely to lose control of the Senate).