(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota announced Tuesday that he plans to retire, a move that looks set to further complicate Democrats’ chances of retaining control of the Senate in 2012.
Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, hails from a state that has been leaning red in recent years. Last fall, Republican John Hoeven won the state’s other Senate seat that had been held by Democrat Byron Dorgan, who also chose to retire.
“After months of consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2012,” Conrad said in a letter to supporters Tuesday. “There are serious challenges facing our State and nation, like a $14 trillion debt and America's dependence on foreign oil. 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 he intends to spend his remaining two years in office focusing on getting the country “on a sound fiscal course” and reducing the country’s dependence on foreign energy, among other issues.
“Although I will not seek reelection, the work is not done,” said Conrad, who has held the North Dakota Senate seat for the last 24 years. “I will continue to do my level best for both North Dakota and the nation over the final two years of my term.”
Conrad is the first Senate Democrat to decide not to run for re-election.
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