Longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana announced this week that he would not seek re-election next year, ending four decades in Congress and leaving as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with Baucus Thursday about his recent vote against expanded gun background checks, his role in negotiations over President Obama's health care legislation, efforts to remake tax policy, and the legions of his former staffers now populating lobbying shops.
Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, an influential red-state Democrat who helped craft Obamacare but bucked his party last week in voting against expanded background checks for gun sales, will retire in 2014, he announced Tuesday.
The chairman of the influential Senate Finance Committee, Baucus was expected to face a potentially tough race for a seventh term after four decades on Capitol Hill. He becomes the sixth Senate Democrat to announce his retirement, as Republicans look for an opportunity to retake Senate control in the midterm elections.
Voters in 11 states will pick their governors tonight, and Republicans appear on track to increase their numbers by at least one, with the potential to extend their hold to more than two-thirds of the nation's top state offices.
Eight of the gubernatorial seats up for grabs are now held by Democrats; three are in Republican hands. Republicans currently hold 29 governorships, Democrats have 20, and Rhode Island's Gov. Lincoln Chafee is an Independent.