In the wake of Sen. Kent Conrad's (D-N.D.) Tuesday announcement to retire at the end of his term, former Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) said he has begun "a new career chapter," but declined to definitively rule out a run in 2012. 

Pomeroy, who lost his at-large congressional seat this past November to Republican Rick Berg, is already being floated by some Democratic strategists as a potential candidate for Conrad's seat.

Reached by e-mail Tuesday and asked whether he would consider a 2012 campaign, Pomeroy indicated he wasn't inclined toward a run, citing his new post at a Washington, D.C., law firm, but he said it was still too early for Senate speculation.   

"I have begun a new career chapter," Pomeroy told The Ballot Box. "Besides, this is a day to reflect on how much Kent Conrad's service has meant to North Dakota and the nation without speculating about what North Dakota will do to try and replace him."

He added: "While no one in politics is indispensable, Kent Conrad's shoes will be very hard for North Dakota to fill." 

After a string of victories in the state in 2010, Republicans see a prime pickup opportunity in 2012 with Conrad's retirement and Democrats staring down a fairly thin statewide bench.