Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, left, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, before the Senate Budget Committee. Committee Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is at right
North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad (D) won’t seek re-election in 2012, presenting Republicans a top pick up opportunity next year.
Democratic sources with knowledge of Conrad’s decision say the Democrat will announce that he will retire on Tuesday. The Washington Post first reported the news of Conrad’s decision.
Conrad was considered very vulnerable in 2012, but he represented the Democrats best shot at holding on to the seat. Without him in the race, Republicans — who made significant gains in North Dakota last year — start the 2012 cycle with significant advantage.
In 2010, Republican picked up both North Dakota’s other Senate seat and the state’s lone House seat. Already, Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk has announced he will run for the seat. Other potential Republican contenders include Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who is also considering a run for governor, and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
Another likely opportunity for the GOP to pick up a seat and achieve a Senatorial majority.