DeConcini, Durenberger to retire


WASHINGTON -- Sens. Dennis DeConcini of Arizona and Dave Durenberger of Minnesota, two moderate lawmakers who have been dogged by charges about their ethics, have announced that they would not run for re-election next year.

Both senators faced uphill races, and their decisions to step down reflected the growing public anger at a Congress whose image has been sullied in recent years.

Mr. DeConcini, a three-term Democrat, was a central figure in the ethical questions surrounding a savings and loan executive two years ago. Mr. Durenberger, a three-term Republican, faces a federal fraud trial.

At a press conference in Phoenix yesterday, Mr. DeConcini said that he was sorry to leave the Senate but that he did not want to go through the fund-raising efforts that would be necessary to finance an expensive re-election effort.

"I detest that part of it," he said.

While Mr. DeConcini's fiscal conservatism and anti-abortion stands often put him at odds with Democratic leaders, his independence from party discipline protected his standing with Arizona voters. But he never fully recovered from his 1991 rebuke by the Senate Ethics Committee for his efforts on behalf of the savings and loan executive, Charles H. Keating Jr.

Mr. Durenberger, 59, a leading Republican expert on health care and the environment, faces a criminal trial in a reimbursement-fraud scandal.

"Decisions like this come over a long period of time," Mr. Durenberger said as he announced his decision at a press conference yesterday in St. Paul. "This one's been coming on me for quite a long time."

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