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Political Notebook

Another senator planning to retire

Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, announced yesterday that he will not seek reelection in 2012. Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, announced yesterday that he will not seek reelection in 2012. (Clyde Mueller/Santa Fe New Mexican via Associated Press)
February 19, 2011

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ALBUQUERQUE — As Senator Jeff Bingaman shook hands of those congratulating him on his years of service, he turned to the crowd and said: “Sure seems like a wake in here, doesn’t it?’’

The 67-year-old Democrat announced yesterday that he would retire after the end of his current term, which ends in two years. The decision was the latest in a string of departures to hit congressional Democrats as they head to the 2012 elections.

The party holds a 53-47 majority, including two independents who side with them. Democrats must defend 21 of the 24 seats on the ballot next year, when they will face a struggle to retain control.

He is the third Democrat and sixth Senator to decide to step aside at the end of their current terms.

The others are Democrats Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Jim Webb of Virginia; Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona; and independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

— Associated Press

Congresswoman explains decision to have abortion WASHINGTON — After stunning colleagues by recalling that she once had an abortion, Representative Jackie Speier of California, a Democrat, made clear yesterday that the procedure was not something she welcomed and was done because the baby was not going to survive.

Speier, first elected in 2008, took to the House floor Thursday during a debate over stripping funding to Planned Parenthood. A previous speaker, Representative Chris Smith, Republican of New Jersey, read a graphic description of a dilation and evacuation abortion.

Speier, 60, then discussed her own experience that took place in the early 1990s.

“That procedure that you just talked about was a procedure that I endured,’’ Speier said. “I lost the baby. But for you to stand on this floor and to suggest as you have that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous.’’

— Associated Press

Palin adviser planning to write tell-all book JUNEAU, Alaska — One of Sarah Palin’s advisers is planning a tell-all memoir, drawing upon thousands of personal e-mails during his time with the former Alaska governor to paint what his agent calls an exposé of the inner workings of her operation.

Frank Bailey rose from a campaign volunteer to administration official and figure in the “Troopergate’’ scandal that fixated the public’s attention during Palin’s vice presidential bid in 2008. A preliminary draft of the unpublished book, tentatively called “Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of our Tumultuous Years,’’ was leaked to reporters, with excerpts making the rounds on the Internet.

— Associated Press

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