Senator Max Baucus says he will not run for re-election next year. The 71-year old Democrat has been a member of the U.S. Senate since 1979. He's been the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee since 2001, and currently serves as the committee chairman.
Montana's senior senator says the decision not to run again is one of the most difficult choices he has had to make. He says he wants to spend the next year and a half tackling tough issues, not campaigning. He helped push the Health Care Reform Bill through Congress, and recently broke with his party on gun control, voting against background checks for gun purchases.
In a written statement, Baucus says he wants to use the rest of his term "to work on simplifying and improving the tax code, tackling the nation's debt, pushing important job-creating trade agreements through the Senate, and implementing and expanding affordable health care for more Americans."