Tuesday, January 5

North Dakota Dem gives GOP a good chance at picking up an easy new seat

Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota announced that he will not be seeking re-election this year. The announcement will give the Republicans who have been looking to find ways to grab new seats this round, a good shot at taking this seat with ease.

Dorgan is a seasoned veteran, having spent three terms and three decades in office. He was first elected to the Senate in 1992 after serving a dozen years in the House. Sen. Dorgan said in a statement that he is moving on to pursue other interests.

The move leaves Democrats uneasy about the road ahead. They were confident that Dorgan would run for re-election.

Rumors that Republican Gov. John Hoeven would challenge him in November have been flying for some time now and in some polls actually showed Gov. Hoeven in the lead. But Gov. Hoeven has been reluctant to throw his hat into the ring and publicly announce that he would be willing to run for the seat. Perhaps now that the seat has been vacated, Gov. Hoeven will make a decision.

Had he decided to run against Sen. Dorgan before the announcement of Sen. Dorgan not seeking reelection, the stakes would have been high in the race. Not only would the GOP have needed to pour millions of dollars into a tightly contended race, but if Hoeven had lost the race, he would have spent all of his political capital. He passed on a chance once before. Opting not to run against Sen. Kent Conrad in the 2006 elections even though Republicans felt that he was the strongest candidate they had.

"Hoeven has walked a conservative line as a politician on some issues and a moderate one on others including increasing education funding, ethics reform, compensation for teachers, as well as increased funding on infrastructure. He is Pro-Life and opposes abortion except for cases of rape, incest, or threat to the Mother's life. He also opposes same-sex marriage. The governor supports decreasing access to parole for offenders and supports second amendment rights. He opposes the Employee Free Choice Act. He believes that public health care should be provided only to the elderly and children, that drug control policy should be a state and not a federal issue, that alternative fuels are a long-term solution but that more oil is required now, and that investment tax credits should be provided for farm investment."

Prior to becoming active int he government, Gov. Hoeven was the CEO and President of the nations only state-owned bank, the Bank of North Dakota. He held that position from 1993 until he resigned in 2000 to focus on his campaign for the governors office.

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