Patrick Leahy Announces Retirement From Senate, Won’t Seek Another Term

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the president pro tem of the Senate and its longest serving current member, announced on Monday that he will not seek another term.

Leahy, 81, told reporters in Vermont that it “is time to pass the torch to the next Vermonter who will carry on this work for our great state. It is time to come home.”

Leahy is a longtime supporter of the entertainment industry, having chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also appeared in five Batman films, the most recent being Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016. Around the Capitol, he frequently carries a camera to capture candid shots of the halls of Congress.

Leahy was first elected in 1974, a member of what was called the Watergate class, or the group of reformers elected in the wake of the scandal that ended in the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

In 2011, Leahy had a role in advising Chris Dodd, recently retired from the Senate, to take the top post at the Motion Picture Association of America.

As president pro tem of the Senate, Leahy is third in line to the presidency, after the vice president and speaker of the house. He presided over the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in February.

Democrats have an uphill battle next year in maintaining control of the Senate, currently split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie breaking vote. Leahy’s seat has long been considered safe, as his last remotely competitive race came in 1992, when he won with 54% of the vote. The state has trended blue since then, although the state has had a Republican governor, Phil Scott, since 2017.

Among the names floated as candidates to run succeed Leahy is Peter Welch, who in 2006 was elected to succeed Bernie Sanders as the state’s sole member of the House.

More to come.

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