Another senator has declared that he is not seeking re-election in 2012. Kent Conrad, a Democrat from North Dakota, will be leaving the Senate next year. He is the first Democrat to make this statement, following Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison’s announced retirement last week.

Conrad currently chairs the Senate Budget Committee and has served four terms in that body. He is regarded as one of the more moderate Democrats in the Senate, probably reflecting his constituency in this red state. He has been very influential among the other moderate Democrats because of his ability to articulate policies with alacrity between the modal party positions.

This seat is an almost sure pickup for the Republicans, who are expected to gain a large number of seats in the Senate. One reason for this is that of the 33 seats up for election in the 2012 cycle, only 10 are currently held by Republicans.