Dorgan's Retirement Means Likely Republican Senate Seat Pickup

There are no sure things in politics or in Vegas, but it's hard to see the retirement announcement today of North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan as anything but an almost certain Senate seat pickup for Republicans. For one thing, Dorgan's retirement is a surprise, and Democrats will scramble to find a credible candidate to replace him. For another, Gov. John Hoeven, a popular Republican, was on the verge of getting in the race, which public and private polling showed was quite winnable. North Dakota Democrats briefly flirted with the idea that North Dakota was competitive because Republicans were so demoralized, but John McCain won by nine points. In a year when Democrats will be demoralized, and in a year when control of the Senate is not at stake, it's hard to imagine that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will elect to spend resources in the state. Dorgan has been in the Senate for three terms and in Congress for three decades. He gave no reason why he's retiring, other than that he wants to pursue other (private sector?) opportunities.