Sen. Baucus not seeking a seventh term

Baucus becomes 6th Democrat overall to retire from Senate after term up

By Paul Steinhauser and Ashley Killough CNN
POSTED: 09:04 AM CDT Apr 23, 2013    UPDATED: 09:45 AM CDT Apr 23, 2013 
Sen Max Baucus

Longtime Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., will not seek re-election next year, a senior Democratic official confirmed Tuesday.

Meanwhile, former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer says he's thinking about running, added the official, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.

Baucus, now in his sixth term, becomes the sixth Democrat overall to retire from the Senate after his term is up. He's the third from a red state to not seek re-election. Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota both made their announcements earlier this year.

Three others from less conservative states are Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, and Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan.

The Democrats control the Senate 55-45 (with two independents caucusing with the party), but as of now they are defending 21 of the 35 seats up for grabs in November 2014.

Meanwhile, two Republicans in the upper chamber will not seek re-election: Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska.

He raised more than $1.5 million in the first three months this year and has almost $5 million in his campaign war chest, according to Federal Election Commission reports. He was expected to face a tough re-election bid next year.

In recent news, Baucus was one of the few Democrats who voted against a bipartisan compromise to expand the background check system to include private sales at gun shows and online.

Gun control groups vowed to aggressively target Democrats up for re-election next year who voted down the background check proposal.

Before being elected to the Senate in 1978, Baucus served in the House for two terms and in the Montana House of Representatives for one year.

The senior senator from Montana serves as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a highly influential post in the Senate.

In 2008, he was elected by a wide margin, 78 percent-27 percent, over his Democratic opponent, Bob Kelleher.

The Washington Post first reported the story.