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.
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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.