Sen. Kent Conrad to Retire North Dakota Democrat doesn't want to be distracted by campaign By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Jan 18, 2011 11:16 AM CST 16 comments Comments In this Sept. 28, 2010 file photo, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) (Newser) – Sen. Kent Conrad will not run for re-election in 2012, he announced today, saying he will concentrate instead on reducing the national debt and dependence on foreign oil. "It is more important I spend my time and energy trying to solve these problems than to be distracted by a campaign for re-election," the North Dakota Democrat said in a statement to supporters. Conrad, 62, was elected to the Senate in 1986, and currently serves as the Budget Committee chairman. His announcement followed last year's decision by North Dakota's other Democratic senator, Byron Dorgan, not to seek re-election. Dorgan was replaced by Republican John Hoeven. Conrad, Dorgan, and former US Rep. Earl Pomeroy made up North Dakota's all-Democratic congressional delegation for 18 years. Pomeroy was defeated last November by Republican Rick Berg in a bid for his 10th term.