6:15pm

Tue June 7, 2011
It's All Politics

Oklahoma's Lone Congressional Democrat To Retire

Rep. Dan Boren, the only Democrat in Oklahoma's congressional delegation, announced Tuesday that he intends to retire at the end of his term.

The announcement by the 37-year old conservative Democrat should make it easier for Republicans to turn the Oklahoma delegation entirely red.

Not that Boren, one of a greatly reduced number of Blue Dog Democrats in the House, was a shoo in. As NewsOK.com points out, Boren, first elected to Congress in 2004 had his closest race in 2010 due to the massive anti-Democratic Party wave that swept the nation.

Boren, a conservative Democrat who has often been at odds with the majority of House Democrats and with President Barack Obama, had his toughest re-election fight in 2010, winning with 57 percent of the vote as the district rebelled against Obama and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Boren had topped 70 percent in 2006 and 2008.

He spent $1.8 million in the last election cycle to win re-election against unknown Republican Charles Thompson, who spent less than $50,000.

Boren was clearly at risk of having another close race which would have required him to raise another large campaign warchest. Raising nearly $2 million means a lot of phone calls, lunches, dinners and cocktail parties for a lawmaker. It sounds like Boren had enough.

More from NewsOK:

With state Republicans looking to capture the only Democratic seat in the delegation, Boren said he knew he would have had a serious challenge next year.

"It wouldn't have been just a gimme election," he said. "But I'm confident we would have been successful. It would have just been the constant slog."

Boren comes from a well-connected Oklahoma family, which no doubt made his decision somewhat easier. His father, David Boren, is president of the University of Oklahoma and a former U.S. senator from the state.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.