Another Dakota shocker: Sen. Kent Conrad, D-ND, won’t run for reelection

The Senate races for 2012 are already beginning in earnest and it looks like the Republicans have a great opportunity to pick up another seat in North Dakota. (Though it won’t be an easy lay up like in 2010.)

Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, announced that he will not run for reelection in 2012. Conrad has continually voted against pro-life legislation. He opposed the Mexico City Policy, supports embryo-destructive research and supported expanding abortion to military bases. We have an excellent opportunity to place a pro-life advocate in this Senate seat.

In 2010, fellow North Dakota Democrat Sen. Byron Dorgan decided not to run for re-election and the seat instantly became a Republican pickup when popular Gov. John Hoeven won his seat in a landslide. But Republicans don’t have nearly as big of a heavyweight as Hoeven this time. Still, I think Republicans will have the edge.

Washington Post politico Chris Cillizza sees two possible Republican candidates. Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk, a Catholic, has already formed an exploratory committee to consider a run for the Senate seat. Another name that might be coaxed to run is former Gov. Ed Schafer, who was Agriculture Secretary in the Bush administration.

On the Democratic side, you have former Rep. Earl Pomeroy, though he just lost statewide to Earl Berg last November over his health care vote. Pomeroy was one of the very last votes that put Obamacare over the top and North Dakota voters (demographically older) opposed the health care bill slightly higher than the rest of the country.

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