By Chris Cillizza
Saturday, February 19, 2011; A02
Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico announced Friday that he will not run for reelection in 2012, a move that further complicates his party's efforts to maintain its Senate majority in the next election.
If Bingaman had chosen to run for a sixth term, he would have almost certainly been reelected.
His retirement now creates an open seat that both national parties will almost certainly target. Democrats should start the race with an edge, given President Obama's 15-point victory margin in the state in 2008.
Bingaman joins Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) as members of the Democratic caucus who will not run for re-election in 2012.
Two Republicans - Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) - also plan not to run for new terms.
Democratic strategists, while disappointed in Bingaman's decision, cast the decision as part of a broader strategy by Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) to push members whose terms expire in 2012 to announce their intentions early on.