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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Sen. Max Baucus will not be seeking reelection in 2014

2013 April 23

by Ben Raker

As of this morning, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.,has joined an increasingly long list of senators that will not seek reelection in 2014.

Like fellow retiring Dems Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Baucus is a Democrat from a state that went to Romney in 2012, by almost 14 points. Still, there are several circumstances specific to Mr. Baucus that left many confused by his Tuesday morning announcement. Of all the retiring Democrats, Baucus has served the longest in the Senate (Carl Levin, D-Mich., has served equally long, 34 years), yet he is the second youngest Democratic senator to announce his retirement (Johnson is five years younger, at the spry age of 65). In other jobs, 34 years of service might be an indicator that it's time to leave, but in Congress seniority is a big deal, and Baucus had managed to wrangle himself the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Baucus had also given early indications that he would be running, and had raised $5 million for that purpose. Furthermore, just this week, Baucus joined 3 other Democrats in voting against the Manchin-Toomey amendment to the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act which would have expanded background checks, a move some saw as an attempt to curry favor with Montanans (a state with a high percentage of gun owners and manufacturers) ahead of the 2014 election.

According to Baucus, he wants to “focus the next year and a half on serving Montana unconstrained by the demands of ...

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