Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, announced his retirement from the Senate on Monday. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont was first elected to the Senate in 1974, during the Vietnam War.
"It is past time to pass the torch to the next Vermonter who will continue this important work for our great state." The 81-year-old Senator announced from the Vermont State House.
"I am confident that I have been there for my state when it has needed me the most. I am confident that I have taken our best ideas and assisted them in growing. I represented Vermont's voice in the United States Senate, and I represented Vermont values around the world," he continued.
Leahy, who will be serving his eighth term as a United States senator, was first elected in 1974. The senator is expected to retire in May, having served for more than three decades, second only to Robert C. Byrd and third only to Strom Thurmond in terms of time in the Senate.
Leahy's Senate career is more than a decade older than the careers of a number of current senators.
Senator Patrick Leahy was a United States senator before four of his colleagues were born: Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark. ), Josh Hawley (Republican of Missouri), Jon Ossoff (Democrat of Georgia), and Kyrsten Sinema (Democrat of Arizona).
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is six years behind Leahy in terms of time in the Senate, and he announced earlier this year that he would run for re-election to an eighth term. If re-elected, Grassley would become the senator with the most years of service in the Senate.
Leahy currently serves as the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is the third in line to the presidency as president pro tempore of the Senate.
Because of Leahy's retirement, a senate race has opened up in which neither Republicans nor Democrats have officially declared their candidates for the seat. Some Democrats, including the current lieutenant governor and the president of the state Senate, are rumored to be considering a run in the upcoming election.
With the Senate currently divided 50-50, Leahy's retirement may provide an opportunity for a Republican to fill the vacancy, despite the fact that Vermont voted roughly two-thirds for Biden in the 2020 election, with Trump winning only one county in the state.
Some have speculated that current Republican Governor Phil Scott might run for the open seat. Scott, who has served as governor since 2017, has frequently clashed with members of the Republican Party. This year, he signed legislation allowing condoms to be distributed to middle school students, and he previously stated that he would vote for Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
"I was a vocal opponent of President Trump. "I wasn't going to vote for him," he stated at the time of the election. I came to the conclusion that simply refusing to vote wasn't going to cut it anymore. "I was compelled to vote no."
Scott, on the other hand, has stated as recently as May that he is not interested in running for the Senate. Vermont's other Senate seat is held by independent Senator Bernie Sanders.