Senator Patrick Leahy is not running for re-election

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Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy he said on Monday he would not run for re-election for a ninth term in 2022, the last major Democratic retreat before next year’s midterm.

“I have come to the conclusion that it is time to put down the hammer. Time to pass the baton to the next Vermonter… time to go home, ”Leahy said at a press conference in Montpelier after recounting her legislative successes during her 47 years in office.

The Democratic lawmaker was first elected to the Senate in 1974, following the Watergate hearings and the Richard Nixon administration. Most recently, he was chairman of the judiciary committee and the appropriations committee, helping to implement dozens of bills and broker several major government funding deals.

Democratic Representative Peter Welch, 74, the only state representative in Congress, is considered a possible candidate for the Leahy seat, as are Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint (D) and State Senator Kesha Ram-Hinsdale (D). Vermont is the only state that never sends a woman to Congress.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a moderate Republican, said he will not run. National Republicans are expected to pressure Scott and change their minds.

As pro tempore president of the Senate, Leahy is constitutionally the second highest Senate official after Vice President Kamala Harris and third in the presidential succession line behind Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. If the Democrats manage to retain control of the Senate next year, California Senator Dianne Feinstein would be next on the list to fill the role of pro tempore president of the Senate.

Leahy was briefly hospitalized earlier this year after starting “not feeling well” in her office on the Capitol. He was sent to the hospital for an evaluation just hours after he was sworn in to preside over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

The health issue has sparked anxiety among his fellow Democrats. Democrats currently control the chamber with a tight 50-50 majority, with Harris casting casting votes as needed. They will need all 50 Democrats to pass President Joe Biden’s social spending and climate package, the Build Back Better Act, as well as fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court should it arise.

Aside from his long career in public office, Leahy is the only congressman to have appeared in many of the Batman films … five, in fact.

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