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. (Read more Kent Conrad stories.)