BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy is not seeking the presidency of a Washington lobbying group for life insurers, a spokeswoman said Friday, although an industry representative called the North Dakota Democrat a “natural” candidate for the job.
The American Council of Life Insurers has started the process of recruiting a successor for its president, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, spokesman Jack Dolan said Friday. He said Pomeroy was considered for the position before the council hired Keating, a Republican, in 2003.
Keating’s contract ends in February 2011, and he wants to return to his home state, Dolan said Friday. Life insurance companies that make up the council are forming a search committee to recruit his successor.
Pomeroy’s background as a former North Dakota insurance commissioner and his knowledge of insurance issues generally would make him “a natural for a search committee to consider,” Dolan said.
“People in Washington who know the industry well, it’s a rather limited crowd, so … his name tends to surface,” Dolan said of Pomeroy. “But I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on it.”
Pomeroy has said he is running for his 10th term in the U.S. House. A spokeswoman for Pomeroy, Melanie Rhinehart Van Tassell, said in a statement that Pomeroy “believes fighting for the interests of North Dakota in the U.S. House is the most important and fulfilling responsibility one could have.”
“That is why he has announced his intention to seek re-election, and is not considering other public or private employment opportunities,” Van Tassell said.
Pomeroy has also declined entreaties to run instead for the U.S. Senate seat being left by incumbent Democrat Byron Dorgan. Dorgan’s wife, Kim Dorgan, is an American Council of Life Insurers senior executive vice president for public policy.
Kevin Cramer, a candidate for the Republican endorsement to oppose Pomeroy this fall, said he wondered whether the incumbent Democrat was looking for a way out of Congress.
“North Dakotans are frustrated and disappointed to see their lone member of Congress interviewing for a golden parachute job for himself, rather than creating good jobs and lowering taxes for our families and businesses,” Cramer said.