On Tuesday, April 23, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) (pictured) announced that he was not running for re-election in 2014. He joins a long list of Senators who have announced that they will not be candidates for re-election in 2014. They are Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). Two other Senators, Jim DeMint (R-SC) and John Kerry (D-MA), resigned. Listed below are the months and years as to when each Senator first began his term.
Senator and Starting Month/Year
Baucus – December 1978
Levin – January 1979
Harkin – January 1985
Kerry – January 1985
Rockefeller – January 1985
Johnson – January 1997
Chambliss – January 2003
Lautenberg – January 2003 (current term); 1982-2001 (previous)
DeMint – January 2005
Johanns – January 2009
With the exception of Lautenberg, each of these Senators would have had a relatively easy re-election in 2014. Lautenberg would have faced a tough primary challenge in Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D). If Lautenberg survived that primary, he would have won in the general election, since New Jersey trends Democratic electorally. The question remains, “Why retire?” If the chances for re-election were quite high, then why move on?
In Kerry’s case, he was named Secretary of State. In DeMint’s case, he took a position at the conservative think tank known as the Heritage Foundation. Some of these Senators claim that the partisan rancor in Washington caused them to step down. Others have said that their age was a determining factor. Could it also be that some do not want to face their records come 2014? In Baucus’s case, speculation has arisen that the Senator does not want to defend his stance of Obamacare and that is his reason for stepping down. In any case, there’s a whole of turnover in the Senate going on. The question is, “Why?”