In a statement released this afternoon, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) announced that he will not be running for re-election:
I would like to do some teaching and would also like to work on energy policy in the private sector.
So, over this holiday season, I have come to the conclusion, with the support of my family, that I will not be seeking another term in the U.S. Senate in 2010. It is a hard decision to make after thirty years in the Congress, but I believe it is the right time for me to pursue these other interests.
Let me be clear that this decision does not relate to any dissatisfaction that I have about serving in the Senate. Yes, I wish there was less rancor and more bipartisanship in the U.S. Senate these days. But still, it is a great privilege to serve and I have the utmost respect for all of the men and women with whom I serve.
Dorgan is perhaps most remembered for his prescience in predicting the negative consequences of repealing the Glass-Steagall financial regulatory reforms, which broke down the barriers between investment and depository banking. Upon passage of the bill in 1999, Dorgan predicted, “I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930’s is true in 2010.” Watch it:
During the recent health care debate, Dorgan introduced a measure to allow Americans to import foreign drugs, thus lowering the cost of prescription medications for millions of Americans. Under his direction, the Senate Democratic Policy Committee reported on the tremendous waste and abuse of military contractors operating in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dorgan has been a crusader for the middle class. “There’s no question the system is rigged against the little guy,” he told the Huffington Post. On his television show this afternoon, Ed Schultz offered this praise for Dorgan:
Look, Byron Dorgan has been a real respected opinion in caucus. He is a man who has really fought for the middle class. He is a guy who understands rural America, who has fought for farmers like you wouldn’t believe. … In fact, I spoke with Byron today on the radio, and he talked about what has to be done when it comes to reforming Wall Street and reeling these banks in and accountability of the Federal Reserve. He has been a real champion of the truth. And this man has got an impeccable career.
Joe Romm notes that Dorgan’s announcement could be good news for the cap-and-trade debate. He had been an unlikely vote for the climate bill, “but now he doesn’t face a tough reelection, and the Senator from the state he himself calls ‘the Saudi Arabia of wind’ is free to vote his conscience.”