Kent Conrad Retires

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 18 2011 10:01 AM

Kent Conrad Retires

Cillizza has the scoop:

North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad plans to announce his retirement today, according to two informed Democratic sources, creating a potentially prime pickup opportunity for Republicans in a GOP-leaning state.


The first important fact, as Cillizza points out, is that the American Future Fund was already on the airwaves attacking Conrad, a deficit hawk, over fiscal issues. That's another argument for these small groups to go in early and bloody up Democrats. The second is that Democrats assume they're going to lose the seat, which would have been unseemly pessimism only a year or two ago. Democrats were in a uniquely tough spot in 2010, when Byron Dorgan retired, because it was clear that Gov. John Hoeven would run for the seat, in a good year for Republicans, with the highest approval ratings of any state executive in America. But in 2008, Barack Obama had put money into the state, losing it to John McCain by only 8 points -- John Kerry had lost it by 27 points. It was the best any Democratic candidate had done in the state since 1976, and now the smart money is that Democrats can't win there.

Oh, and a historical note -- there is a long-delayed reward for Republicans here. In 1889, North and South Dakota both became states despite neither being terribly populous. One reason was that the dominant Republicans of the time wanted to strengthen their control of Congress and create a chance to elect four Republican senators instead of two. But for decades, North and South Dakota stubbornly sent Democrats to Washington. At the start of the 2010 cycle, Democrats held three of the Dakotas' Senate seats and both of their House seats. As we entered this cycle, Democrats held only two of the Senate seats, and neither House seat. If the Conrad seat flips, Republicans will finally, finally get a majority of senators from the region.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
Business Insider
Oct. 21 2014 11:27 AM There Is Now a Real-life Hoverboard You Can Preorder for $10,000
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 21 2014 12:40 PM Asamkirche: The Rococo Church Where Death Hides in Plain Sight
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.