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Published January 18, 2011, 06:57 PM

Conrad: Dorgan, Pomeroy Departures Influenced Me

North Dakota U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad says the departures of former Sen. Byron Dorgan and Rep. Earl Pomeroy influenced his decision not to seek re-election.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad says the departures of former Sen. Byron Dorgan and Rep. Earl Pomeroy influenced his decision not to seek re-election.

Dorgan didn't run for re-election last year, and Pomeroy was beaten by Republican Rick Berg. The three Democrats have been political allies and friends since the 1970s. They served together in Congress for 18 years.

Conrad says he'd rather spend time on legislative goals instead of fundraising and running for re-election.

He says the $14 trillion national debt is "the central threat facing this country" along with terrorism. He says when he leaves office, he wants to be able to say he did what he could to put the nation's finances in order.

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