Montana Sen. Max Baucus will not seek reelection in 2014, becoming the latest senior red-state Democrat to bail out of a potentially difficult reelection campaign, a senior Democratic official confirmed to POLITICO. Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, had nearly $5 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter but was expected to face a tough fight in his GOP-leaning home state.
The good news is that Baucus joins a growing list of red and purple-state Democrats who aren’t interested in facing voters next year, increasing Republicans’ chances of making significant gains in the upper chamber. The GOP needs to net six seats to seize the Senate — still a very tall task, but one that’s made easier by this roster:
Baucus joins colleagues Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Carl Levin of Michigan and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey in exiting the 2014 race. His Montana seat is likely to be one of the toughest on that list for Democrats to defend.