Washington (CNN) - North Dakota Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election 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 . . . interests," Dorgan said in a written statement announcing his decision.
The Democrat also said Tuesday that his decision had nothing to do with his prospects for re-election this year.
"[M]y decision has no relationship to the prospect of a difficult election contest this year. Frankly, I think if I had decided to run for another term in the Senate I would be reelected," Dorgan said.
Two well-respected, nonpartisan political reports, the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report, had rated Dorgan's seat as safe in the 2010 elections, and Dorgan won re-election by a large margin in 2004.
North Dakota's other senator, Kent Conrad, is also a Democrat. Conrad predicted Tuesday that Dorgan's exit from the political stage was a temporary one. "Although Senator Dorgan is leaving the Senate at the end of 2010, I have a feeling that this will not be the last of his public service," he said in a statement. "It is my guess he will be on a short list of future Cabinet nominees to the Obama Administration in the coming years."
(CNN) - John Hoeven will remain as governor of North Dakota, winning over Sen. Tim Mathern, a Democrat, CNN projects.
CNN bases its projection on partial vote tallies and exit polls from key areas of the state.
(CNN) – Barack Obama's campaign appears to be ending its push for North Dakota, a state that hasn't voted Democratic in a presidential election for more than 40 years.
Obama's campaign confirms to CNN it is pulling staffers from the state and sending them to two key nearby battlegrounds: Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Democratic nominee last visited North Dakota in early July.
President Bush carried North Dakota in 2004 by nearly 30 percentage points, though a recent American Research Group poll suggests McCain only holds a 9 point lead there. The Arizona senator currently has no paid staff in the state.
The Obama campaign has also pulled staff from Georgia, Idaho and Sarah Palin’s home state of Alaska - all historically red states that also initially appeared within striking distance.