With a sour economy and an increasingly bitter electorate, politics and partisanship remain inextricably linked headed into this year’s midterms. There’s anger amongst voters and tension between legislators sent to represent them on Capitol Hill. The Senate is the venue where some of the nation’s weightiest ideological battles are fought.
In June and July of 2010, NBC Senate producer Ken Strickland sat down with nine senators who will be departing the chamber this year — eight are exiting by choice, one lost his party’s nomination. Together, they represent 158 years of Senate service and offer unique insights into the legislative process.
All were asked the same eight questions and one wildcard query.
The senators interviewed were: Sam Brownback, R-Kansas; Evan Bayh, D-Ind., Bob Bennett, R-Utah, Judd Gregg, R-N.H., Jim Bunning, R-Ky., George Voinovich, R-Ohio; Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Kit Bond, R-Mo., and Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.
Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., declined to be interviewed for this series.
Senate historian Don Ritchie graciously granted a lengthy interview to provide context to each of the stories.
Former White House stenographer Ellen Eckert contributed to transcription of the interviews.
The series was edited by msnbc.com's Carrie Dann, with msnbc.com's Kara Kearns.
Msnbc.com's Chris Cast provided technical support.