Sen. Kent Conrad, chairman of the Budget Committee, will not seek reelection in 2012, setting up another pickup opportunity for Republicans.
Last year, Republicans gained the state's other Senate seat and its lone congressional seat when Sen. Byron Dorgan retired and Rep Earl Pomeroy lost his reelection bid. Both were supporters of the national health care law.
ObamaCare is overwhelmingly unpopular in the state, and Conrad played a key role in crafting the law in the Finance Committee and getting it passed by leading the reconciliation process as chairman of the Budget Committee. In fact, it was Conrad who inserted language into the budget that allowed for the use of the parlimentary manuever for passing health care legislation.
At the same time, his opposition to the public option drew the ire of liberals.