ND-Sen: Dorgan To Retire; SSP Moves to Lean R

I don’t think anybody saw this coming — North Dakota’s long-time Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan is planning to retire. His statement today reads in part:

Although I still have a passion for public service and enjoy my work in the Senate, I have other interests and I have other things I would like to pursue outside of public life.  I have written two books and have an invitation from a publisher to write two more books.  I would like to do some teaching and would also like to work on energy policy in the private sector.

A recent Rasmussen poll had shown Dorgan losing by double-digits to Republican Governor John Hoeven. Hoeven, however, hadn’t taken any steps to get into the race; it’s unclear whether Dorgan had advance notice of Hoeven starting to move toward entering the race and decided to get out of the way, or the 67-year-old Dorgan, as implied in his statement, legitimately had had enough and was ready to try something other than a fourth term. At any rate, it seems much likelier now that Hoeven gets into the race.

On the Dem side, long-time at large Rep. Earl Pomeroy seems like a possible candidate to try for a promotion. (At 58, he’s still within Senate range.) However, the Democratic bench here seems to pretty much begin and end with Pomeroy, and he’d still start at a deep disadvantage against Hoeven, and maybe a lesser disadvantage against another statewide Republican official. (Pomeroy running would also expose us to the likely loss of ND-AL.) With the lack of possibilities beyond Pomeroy, we’re moving this race to Lean Republican, with a likelihood that it may move further in the Republicans’ favor as things unfold.

RaceTracker: ND-Sen

155 thoughts on “ND-Sen: Dorgan To Retire; SSP Moves to Lean R”

  1. was really unexpected. I expected since Wall Street melted down in 2008, Dorgan would lead the charge in cracking down in Wall Street. He did correctly foresee the damage repealing Glass-Stegal would do to the country.

  2. My hunch is that he got word that Hoeven was getting in and he didn’t want to go through that tough battle.  

  3. With this bad news its vital that Hodes, Carnahan, Specter, Dodd, Fisher/Brunner, Reid, Lincoln, and possibly Biden if he gets into the race either get re-elected or elected. We need at least 60 seats in order to pass anything come 2010 for the GOP will fillibuster any bill proposed by the dems. I believe its come to the point where if the Dems would try n pass a bill calling the GOP the greatest political party in the world then the gopers would still filibuster it bc a dem proposed it. If we want Obama to achieve anything past 2010 then we need thoose 60 possibly 61 seats since we just lost Dorgan’s seat today in my books.    

  4. I am really surprised at this announcement. Dorgan was a great rural Democrat whose populist voice will be sorely missed in the Senate.

    If Hoeven gets in the race it’s hard to see how the DSCC doesn’t write this race off; that’s barring Pomeroy getting in the race, which would be a huge gamble.

  5. 2010 is going to brutal.  I forsee retirements like this piling up and the losses of some unexpected seats.  Things are going to get ugly REALLY fast.

  6. I was doing a little looking-up on Hoeven, just to familiarize myself with the guy who very well could be North Dakota’s next senator, and realized something worth pondering:  could he fall victim to a tea party-style challenge?  I know it is never a good idea to cite Wikipedia, but using that as my first introduction to all things Hoeven, I see he’s described as having:

    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.


    Then the paragraph goes on to list a bunch of mainline conservative positions, though nothing really terribly wingnutty.  Of course, what I refer to is the wording of whomever wrote that on the page.

    I can’t help but wonder if, considering the tea party challenges to other “establishment” Republicans across the country, if we might see one of those if Hoeven decides to run.  And, if there was a legitimate tea party challenge, might that give any possible Dem an opening?

  7. I’m guessing he got word Hoeven was running and didn’t want the bother. If so Pomeroy shouldn’t either. Chris Dodd take notice. NOW.

  8. So everyone is reporting that other than Pomeroy there’s not much of a bench. Okay, fine. And sure this probably should now be Lean-R. That said, there have to be some names out there. Who should we keep an eye on? The only name that leaps to my mind is Jasper Schneider who barely lost a race for Insurance Commissioner in ’08. And conveniently he’s now 30, so he’s eligible. But looking more broadly – anyone know other names?

  9. Assuming Hoeven gets in, this is easily a Safe R. Althrough that may not be guranteed: North Dakota is one of the states that have no term limits and Hoeven may like being govenor of a nice small state than be 1 of 100 in nasty Washington D.C. Dorgan’s retirment does make is much more likely that Hoeven will pull the trigger.

    If Hoeven doesn’t run, then it Poleroy gets in then it would probably be a toss-up as he is also a statewide offical and personally popular. Hopefully he isn’t stupid enough to go against Hoeven but he could definitly toe to toe with any of the other GOP statewide elected officals who would be jumping in if Hoeven declines, and who knows maybe Pomeroy could benefit from a nasty GOP primary.

    In my opinion it would only be Lean R if both Hoeven and Pomeroy refused to run, which would likely turn more GOP eventually because of the weak Dem bench in the state sans Pomeroy.

  10. Byron Dorgan was the most consistent voice in the United States Senate on fighting for the working person, whether it be on trade policy, affordable drugs, pensions, cracking down on employers for hiring illegal immigrants and offering them slave wages.  Dorgan was one of the few Senators who actually stood up against these evil war profiteers like Erik Prince, we all should be calling Dorgan’s office and begging him to reconsider, not just for our party, but the country,

  11. This news clearly favors the GOP because the GOP has other strong candidates besides Hoeven. The Democrats can run At Large Congressman Earl Pomeroy, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead, and State Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson and make a race out of this, though.

  12. You can’t even get anything through with sixty votes anyway.  I always vote the person over the party and won’t change that.  People’s accomplishments should not be eliminated by false rumors and political hacks.

  13. A name from the slightly more distant past

    She was Attorney General for 8 years (1993-2001), before that she was Tax Commissioner (huge stepping stone in ND). She ran for Governor against Hoeven in 2000 — midway through the campaign she announced that she had breast cancer, which brought her a lot of attention, but probably doomed her chances of victory.

    She is only 55 (a fine age for a Senate run), still lives in North Dakota, is a lawyer and very active in civic affairs, and is in good health these days. Maybe it is time for her to jump back into politics — either for Senate or for House if Pomeroy steps up.  

  14. Wowowoowow at Ritter dropping out of Co-GOV now too. Sad to say, but 2010 is starting to look like a bloodbath.

  15. In no particular order:

    1)I honestly don’t think Hoeven will run; he’s never: a) struck me as being the type that wants to be in DC, b)struck me as being an ultra-partisan and given what the Senate is now, it would force him to become one, and c)the rumors that he would throw out about running always struck me as being a favor to the national GOP so they could talk up their chances nationally.

    2)If Hoeven doesn’t run, I think Dems have a 45%-50% chance of winning;  the upper Midwest probably hasn’t soured as much on the national Democratic agenda as other places. It’s a very community oriented society, and passing the healthcare bill probably helps Democrats a fair bit in the region.

    3)Democrats at least have some bench here with a few statewide officials and Earl Pomeroy (though I think he stays put). Roger Johnson, in particular, strikes me as a pretty solid choice, with Heidi Heitkamp close behind.

  16. John Hoeven may see this as an easy win now, but he is his third term for governor and if he likes doing this job a lot, he may decide to stay and run for a fourth term in 2012. Thus Earl Pomeroy would probably run and we would have Pomeroy running against Duanne Sand and we all know how that would end up. If Hoeven does not annouce he is running by the end of January or evn possible within the next couple of weeks, I’m going to assume he is not running.

    1. I live in Pennsylvania (and currently am in SC where it’s a few degrees warmer at least…it won’t be pleasant to go back on Saturday), though my Dad’s extended family is from Minnesota, which gives me some insight into the region.

  17. Cherry was actually good news. He would of lost to any Republican because of his ties to Granholm and the fact that he doesn’t inspire anyone.

  18. is that he was disillusioned by the failure of his drug re-importation amendment to the health care bill. How many years have Democrats been campaigning on this issue? But Obama cut a deal with PhRMA, and lots of Senate Democrats went along with the White House. That must have been a painful wakeup call for Dorgan.

  19. While I am sure he was considering retiring anyway, I think the way that the drug re-importation issue was treated may have been pushed him over the edge. In the end, what lobbyists wanted mattered more than the wishes of the majority of members of our own party. I do not think this is going to be the best way to retain candidates.

  20. I think that the Blue Dogs and other Dems from conservative states are realizing that they no longer have the outsize influence in the House and Senate caucuses that they did under Clinton and Bush.

    This is a shame, but perhaps it’s time for a new generation of populist-progressive Democrats to rise up from the Midwest.

  21. because if that was his fundamental reason, and Dorgan was going to retire anyway, Dorgan should have done a Lieberman, either you get rid of the deal with big Pharma or I’ll filibuster the bill.

  22. “… barring Pomeroy getting in the race, which would be a huge gamble.”

    It’s a gamble only on Pomeroy’s career (and to a lesser extent, ND Dems more generally). Put it this way: One more or less Blue Dog Democrat in the House, who cares? Our majority there is solid enough. But we could desperately use more Democrats in the Senate, if only so our 60th vote isn’t Lieberman. Or Nelson. Mainly Lieberman.

    It’s the same type of gamble with Charlie Melancon. Sure, another potential House vote from LA-03 is nice, but wouldn’t you rather have a more comfortable Senate majority? After all, it doesn’t seem to be the House that has trouble passing any legislation…

  23. already trembling Barbara Boxer losing to Carly Fiorina by double digits in November (sarcastic)

  24. I think you should permanently have to have the ONOZ! guys accompany anything you write on this site. :)

    Although in fairness, this is significantly more oh-noes!-ish than the other times you’ve declared the electoral sky to be falling. Cuz yeah, we are pretty effed in North Dakota.  

  25. I think it’s pretty clear we’re not keeping 60 seats.  But it’s a long way down to 49.  So even a bad year is not the end of the world.  And while not as safe a margin there isn’t a bad margin in the house as well.  Particularly given how computer driven redistricting has lowered the number of truly swing districts down from what you saw in say 1994.

    In a perfect world it would wake up some Democrats that this is it.  This is our time to do what we need to do because chances are we’ll never have these margins again any time soon.

    The prospect of 2010 and how brutal it could be should be compelling Democrats to be bold and take chances to change the math.  Hopefully they’ll wake up and realize this.

  26. Certainly on the populist level. On trade issues Dorgan was more populist than any three other senators put together.

  27. He voted against ACES (not surprising, given North Dakota’s petroleum revenue), but has voted for all other major Dem legislation this year.

    I don’t think the Dems can afford any more retirements in either chamber.

  28. from behind our computers. Melancon’s seat is primed to be redistricted out of existence in 2012 so that is probably one reason he is running for Senate. Pomeroy would have to give up his relatively safe House seat (in 2010 that is not a given) which can never be redistricted away to make an uphills battle for Senate. It’s easy to want something to happen but in reality these are people who must make political/personal decisions that is best for them first.  

  29. If you open up more seats like ND-AL. It might be worth it sans Hoeven but it seems likely to me that is probably why Dorgan is out not imported drugs.

  30. served with Chris Dodd for about five years in the senate. Maybe Obama should tell Corzine to have a long chat with Chris Dodd.

  31. Around 215,000 of them have voted in the last two non-presidential election. That’s not a large enough base for Teabaggers – too many people will know and like Hoeven.

  32. “Our CT polling is confirming a Blumenthal\/Dodd swap would make the seat uber safe for Dems”

  33. served with Chris Dodd for about 4 years in the Senate. Maybe Obama should tell himself to have a long chat with Chris Dodd.  

  34. I was just researching quickly on Wiki, and all ND statewide elected officials are currently Republican. The Office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction is non-partisan, but something tells me that person is affiliated with the Republicans, too…

    North Dakota is a goner for us. It makes no sense for Pomeroy to run if Hoeven gets in. I don’t think it makes any sense for Pomeroy to run period.

    From what I could see, the local Democratic Party in ND experienced a surge in the ’80s and early ’90s, perhaps out of a localized counter-balance to conservative dominance of the executive branch in Washington.

  35. Reagan and Bush really screwed over the farm states, and were rewarded with much narrower margins there in 1988.

  36. I did the same thing you did, looking on Wikipedia for info on the statewide elected offices.

    Some of those numbers are amazing. The SOS office has been held by a Democrat for 3 years total (since the office was created), and some of the other numbers are insane. It’s like a reverse of the Deep South.

  37. Roger Johnson is a Dem but hasn’t won with the biggest margins and he’s up in 2010 anyway.  There’s a young guy who almost won State Treasurer (I think it was that office) in 2008 that Obama just appointed to the USDA job – Jasper Schneider… Scott Kleeb with more electability?

  38. But we do have several good looking (on paper) candidates in the state legislature to run in Pomeroy’s stead should he choose to seek the seat.  We even have a Pomeroy (Jim) and a Conrad (Kari…Kent’s daughter?).

  39. I’ve actually felt all along that McMahon’s jobs-centric campaign was a tad better-suited for a Gubernatorial run anyway. Simmons assumedly wouldn’t have anything to lose by running a destined-to-lose campaign against Blumenthal.

  40. the only one that can tell Dodd that when your universally hated, you’ll loose reelection, no matter how you try to nationalize the election or point out the good things you’ve done.  

  41. Dorgan, Conrad and Pomeroy are products of that era.

    That’s why I’d like to call them legacy Dems because they built up public trust in an era (the ’80s and early ’90s) where there was a heavy, lingering recession (similar to now?), and they parlayed that trust into lifetime jobs in the House and Senate.

    Will the same be the case for Republicans now in ND, that they assume public trust in an era of national progressive dominance? Will this seal the fate of ND as blood-red state, similar to Wyoming?

    ND is different, though, in that it’s a border state, has a state-owned bank, and is more demographically homogeneous than most other states. In other words, the local population may be more loyal to the Dems than we think…

  42. with less than 60 caucus members. Perhaps with 59 or 58, they may get some even more watered-down legislation with the agreement with one or both of the senators from Maine, but with fewer than that, they’ll have to resort to Budget Reconciliation or change the filibuster rule, or everything but stuff like basic budget bills will be blocked.

  43. …an improving economy, and health care behind us with the ink dry and slowly gaining public embrace, are enough to level the playing field, and at that point natural blue tilts save us in a bunch of states.  Dodd is still vulnerable because his problems are personal to him, and Bennet and Reid are in purple states and still vulnerable, as is Lincoln in her red state.  And yes, ND should be presumed (by junkies like us behind a computer, certainly not by Menendez and others whose job it is to recruit and stay competitive everyhwere) lost without Dorgan.

    But not all those incumbents will lose, and we have 3 tossup pickup opportunities (MO, OH, NH) with a couple more out there in the 2nd tier with real potential (KY and FL, if Paul and Rubio win primaries).  And in a neutral environment, Burr stays vulnerable against a good Democratic candidate running a skilled and well-funded campaign.

    I am NOT conceding it as a “given” that our 60-seat caucus will shrink.  Breaking even is still very realistic.

  44. The main problem going into 2010 is you are not going to have the massive minority turnout that Obama brought.  In 2012 with Obama on the ticket again we have the possibility of seeing that again which like in 2008 can perhaps open up windows of opportunity for us.

  45. PPP’s twitter feed: “Our CT polling is confirming a Blumenthal/Dodd swap would make the seat uber safe for Dems”

    Dodd’s ego is going to cost the Democrats a seat they can’t afford.

  46. Is not substantive and is not helpful. You are of course free to make the case for Dodd, just as other posters are free to make the case against him. But stick to substance.

  47. I simply looked at who had run fairly close statewide in the last two election cycles and started reading about them. He came closest to victory and now has an administration job in ND, so he stood out on paper. The other closest runners were Cheryl Bergian who’s lost twice, narrowly, for Public Service Commission, and Kristin Hedger who lost the AG race by less than 8 points even though she was only 26.

    I’m guessing there are notable names who haven’t themselves run in ’06 or ’08, so I’m wondering who those people are.

  48. Seriously, I think DeVore is going to beat Fiorina in the primary — but Boxer isn’t going to be in trouble against either one of them…. both are seriously flawed candidates.

  49. In reality it shouldn’t matter but pols are jumpy and open to believing what ever the press says so I can’t see how it isn’t relavant. Probably causes some second guessing with some House members too.

  50. She is mentioned in this AP article. I know nothing about ND politics, but she’s apparently a former Attorney General and Tax Commissioner, and it would be nice to have someone who’s been elected statewide. She did, however, lose a gubernatorial race against Hoeven.  

  51. Probably helps. Hickenlooper. Seriously though do you actually comment on anything but negativity?

  52. This would be a good thing…It opens the seat up for Hickenlooper or gets Romanoff out of the Senate primary.  

  53. I haven’t seen anything about Ritter getting out in Colorado blogs or papers… Are you making that up? If not, can you please cite a source?

    As for “bloodbath”, 10 months out is a bit early to become Chicken Little making an on-line career of shouting about the falling sky. The political landscape is far from set in stone — an improving economy, the achievement of passing health care, the negativity of the Republican opposition, and the prospect of a large number of divisive tea-bag primaries all can work in our favour.

    As for retirements — yes, it is sad to see Dorgan bail out, but if you are using retirements to gauge things, the Republicans are in far worse shape than Democrats.

    So far, only 3 Democratic incumbents aren’t running:

    Delaware, Illinois, North Dakota

    At the same time, 6 Republican Senators are bailing out:

    Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio

    Take a chill pill, stop wasting so much energy on dire predictions, and go out and work your ass off on a Democratic campaign.

  54. Thanks for the insight from North Dakota.

    I think we can respect the decision of a 30-year Senate veteran to retire from politics. I just wish it had come at a more opportune time, but life doesn’t always wait for opportune moments.

  55. If he gets into the Senate and gets some foreign policy experience, he’d have a very good shot at the presidential nomination in 2016.

    Three problems with that, of course:

    1) Small state politicians start at a disadvantage in the primaries

    2) 2016 will likely be quite a crowded field, as plenty of smarter candidates will avoid 2012

    3) He has a silly moustache, and I honestly think that would torpedo his campaign.

  56. We can only hope Romanoff switches or Hickenlooper runs, but for all we know neither might or they might poll just as poorly.  We shall see.  Either way, the more open seats the worse we are off.

  57. If Paterson drops out in New York, will you be spouting off “the more open seats the worse we are off”? What bullshit. Take it race by race.

  58. Since he apparently had no traction in the senate primary and Bennet has been raising so much money.

  59. Considering how Democratic Delaware is, Biden shouldn’t be scared just cause Dorgan is retiring in Republican leaning state. And Castle isn’t as formidable as Hoeven.

  60. How nervy things like this make people, even those seemingly unconnected. But maybe its just me.

  61. Have Blanche Lincoln drop out and replace her with Bill Clinton

    Have Chris Dodd drop out and replace him with Blumenthal

    Have Patterson drop out and replace him with Cuomo

    Have Harry Reid drop out and replace him with Shelly Berkley

    Have Rory Reid drop out and replace him with Oscar Gibbons

    Just like we got John Cherry to drop out and hopefully he is replaced with Virg Bernero.

    BTW Ritter dropping out extremely good news. According to pollster.com he was averaging an upside down

    50.8% Disapproval in terms of job approval as governor

  62. Not that its a reliable soure but its probably true. Considering Ritters somewhat poor poll numbers, it probably doesn’t really change the dynamic. Not sure if any of the non-incumbents would do better.

  63. He can give the max to individual federal candidates across the country or the federal account of the State , and can transfer unlimited federal campaign funds to the DSCC (although there are some legal restrictions on how the DSCC can distribute some of the funds).

    He can also give money to charities, use it for legal fees (not that I think he has any, but there will be some limited stuff around paperwork with resolving campaign finances, etc), and use it for some office/ political expenses after he has retired.  

    Additionally, he can keep the campaign account open for years and disburse the money in a number of ways (those described above) over that time.  

  64. Might Halter be a bit more realistic?

    Btw you meant Oscar Goodman, Gibbons is the bad guy. But for some reason I remember hearing that Goodman said if he ran it would be as an indie, maybe I’m misremembering?

  65. that will shake up Colorado races a little — Hickenlooper, Romanoff and a bunch of others will give the race a second look, and it may mean Scott McInnis will see some other Republicans get in.

  66. I hope PPP did a primary match-up.  Kind of doubt they did since it’s never been a brought up topic.  CT-Sen needs to be figured out.

    And lets poll NV-Sen with Rep. Berkley to boot.  

  67. The only reason Oscar Goodman is considering running as an independent is because of Rory “unelectible” Reid. If we get Rory Reid to drop his gubernatorial bid, Goodman will run as a democrat.

  68. although I’m wondering of Goodman is as electable as the polls claim. I mean the man became famous defending mobsters in court and he’s a pretty colorful character if his Wikipedia page is to be believed. Maybe in Nevada it doesn’t matter as much, I’m spent about 3 days of my life in Las Vegas so I can’t really say.

  69. I hate to burst your bubble…but with this being an open-seat, if Hoeven doesn’t run, there is a deep Republican bench here. Pomeroy isn’t too popular in a recent poll, so I don’t see him being to competitive against a statewide elected Republican in the general election.  

  70. …no top-tier Dem will primary Dodd.  He’s already got a challenge from some nobody whose name I can’t remember, but someone like Blumenthal won’t parachute into such a bloodbath.

    Dodd has to drop out on his own accord.

    Oh, and Obama and Biden have been encouraging him this whole time, I don’t expect them to switch gears.  I didn’t blame them in 2009 as it was worth seeing if establishment support and time didn’t fix his problems, but he ain’t getting better.  Problem is, I think Obama et al. see their investment too deep to pull the plug on Dodd.  They’re just not that cold and calculating.

  71. …because there is no advantage for him in doing so until the last possible minute (ie-not far from the filing deadline), IMHO. You get in early if you need money and/or name recognition. Beau Biden needs neither.

    Or you do it to clear out the primary field. Notice no other DE Dems have jumped in. In a state where the Bidens are so ingrained in the political culture, someone would’ve tried to get their name out there if Beau wasn’t running.

    In the meantime, he’s Attorney General, a nice, prominent, non-partisan-ish tough guy/legal eagle sort of job.

  72. Is this a conspiracy or something? I’ve just started my vacation in awesome Tucson, Arizona and now all these shakeups occur in the political arena! I got a heckuvalotta catching up to do when I get back next week.

  73. Although I’m not sure if Paul Wellstone-ish progressive populist would play well in North Dakota today.  The bloggers at dKos would love her though.

  74. and the other side of the border is perhaps the heart of the NDP in Canada… (The CCF coalition with Ontario labor is at least on the surface not unlike the MN Democratic Farmer Labor party coalition)

    If I remember right, Dorgan made a name for himself taxing oil companies in ND and preserving the family farm. His windfall profits proposals didn’t hurt, though he couldn’t bring himself to vote for cap and trade.

    I was surprised to read about his protectionist tendencies as well – all of these I believe are popular positions in ND.

    With that history, the right kind of progressive has made it big in ND – and can do so again.

  75. but it is unfortunately that, history.  Today’s North Dakota is not quite the populist haven that it used to be, but one that is heavily populated with evangelical Christians.  Despite that, North Dakota is no more religious than the country at large (unlike the South).  Rural North Dakota isn’t anywhere near as hostile to Obama and Democrats as rural North Carolina.  But it isn’t exactly rural Vermont either.

    Dorgan was really one of the good guys in the Senate.  Compare to Kent Conrad, who used to be a rabid left-winger when he was in statewide office in the 1980s.  Look what he has turned into.  I would donate money to Heitkamp, she’s really good, but I’m not optimistic about her winning.

    If the Democrats are smart in looking long term, this is what they should do.  Funnel lots of money into North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming (toughest) to develop a new clean energy economy, based on new research centers.  This would create lots of new jobs and bring lots of new people who are liberals, and hopefully turn places like Fargo, Pierre, Billings, and Cheyenne into suburban centers, drowning out the old GOP rural areas.  Given how much land is there and how few people in these states, a major economic transformation could well shift these states politically.

  76. to states that you consider “Red” – states which already have a lot of oil – and therefore are less eager for new methods of energy production – (with the possible exception of oil and shale)

    also depriving states – and populations that are blue and enthusiastic for clean energy?

    In other words, you would hurt D friends – by taking away new industries

    and give them to states which have little interest in “clean energy”?

    I thought you said that you were familiar with the history of the area.

  77. Let them export wind energy!

    Good luck getting research centers in the Dakotas though: it’s cold and evidently not that many people want to live there.  Montana and Wyoming have marketable amenities (stunning mountain ranges with outdoor sports in all four seasons), and something like you suggest is already happening in Boise, though with the Mormons in the Snake River valley counteracting them it will take a generation to pay political dividends.  But research centers in the Dakotas?  With no major universities there to help nurture them?  I wouldn’t bank on it.

  78. With 56 Senators, there’s no way we ever reach 60 on anything remotely controversial. When that becomes clear, reconciliation may actually become more likely, purely because they’ll want to pass something.

    On the other hand, they might just pass the Republican agenda by 80-20 votes instead. Hard to tell.

  79. There’s Republican votes for immigration reform, or even a climate change bill with significant outlays for nuclear power (which I don’t think is a bad deal as a stop-gap maneuver). Things further down the road are kinda hard to foresee, I don’t even know what they are. But we may have gotten some of the most partisan bills out of the way this term.

  80. by paying people to come over there.  It will take a major federal government effort plus innovative Democratic governors in the Dakotas.

    I know that it is happening in Boise, but politically Idaho is a lot tougher (as you said Mormons in Eastern Idaho).  Montana and the Dakotas are a lot more easier to flip by drawing in more liberals.  

    Population-wise, this is a good investment, because it won’t take a lot of people to change these states.

  81. about wind energy, perhaps the Dakotas can be made a research institution for harnessing wind energy.  

  82. taking away industries from blue states that want them.

    These states can be flipped with conditions already on the ground, the same conditions that fomented American prarie populism to begin with. It’s already working in Montana, if you look at the 2000-08 vote trends in the Gore-Obama diary from yesterday.

  83. if there’s Republicans votes for a bill, it must be bad…that’s what Jane Hamsher told me.  

  84. Cause this isn’t why he retired and I can bet money on it…it’s just another straw for Jane Hamsher and her merry band of lemmings to grasp at because they’re pissy about their lack of influence.

    Sorta telling how shameful they’ve become that they would portray someone like Dorgan as a petulant child who decided to throw a temper tantrum and throw his seat to Republicans because he lost a legislative battle.

  85. I’m just saying that if it were true Dorgan retired because of the reimportation issue, then he is a wuss because he could have forced the issue, given how pathetic of a leader Harry Reid is.

    I agree that it is highly unlikely that was Dorgan’s motivation for retirement.  Although I would also call Dorgan a wuss if he heard Hoeven’s footsteps and retired for that reason.

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