Senate Shake-Ups

By January 6, 2010General

Wow. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) announces on Tuesday he will not seek re-election, and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) follows up with an announcement today.

This watcher of North Dakota politics is surprised, if only because Congressional incumbency is as close you can get to a sinecure in the state. The last time an incument member of Congress was defeated in North Dakota was 1986, when now Sen. Kent Conrad, a Democrat, knocked off Sen. Mark Andrews, a Republican. And septuagenarianism has never been a disqualification: Sen. Quentin Burdick (D-ND) was 84 when he died in office in 1992 after serving 32 years in the Senate. When Sen. Milt Young (R-ND) retired from the Senate in 1982, he was 84 and had served for 36 years. Dorgan is just 67.

Senator Dorgan’s voting record on Key Votes as identified by the National Association of Manufacturers is available here. In the 110th Congress (2007-2008) he recorded a 15 percent rating on pro-manufacturing votes; he twice reached 35 percent during a Congress.

Senator Dodd’s record is here. In the 110th, Sen. Dodd achieved an 8 percent rating on manufacturing issues. His high point was 46 percent in the 105th Congress, his first two years in the Senate; in the 107th Congress, he recorded a 0 percent score.

The two announcements have implications for monetary policy. Marketplace Morning Report this a.m. covered the Dodd’s announcement by noting the Senator’s support for legislation to limit the authority of the Federal Reserve. Senator Dorgan, too, has been a relentless critic of the Fed of the populist ilk during his tenure in Congress.

(Disclosure: Your blogger worked for North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven during the 2000 campaign and for six months during his administration. Hoeven, a Republican, was already widely expected to seek the Senate seat even before Dorgan’s announcement.)

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