Democratic U.S. Senator Leahy says he will not seek re-election in 2022

Written by on November 15, 2021

November 15, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy on Monday said he will not seek re-election next year, opening up another seat that Democrats will need to aggressively defend if they are to hold their razor-thin majority in the 2022 mid-term elections.

Leahy, 81, serves as the chamber’s president pro tempore, a position that places him third in line to the presidency, after Vice President Kamala Harris and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

His retirement could open an opportunity for Democratic Representative Peter Welch to run for Senate.

Leahy also is chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which oversees federal spending. In that role and previously as the “ranking” Democrat under a Republican chairman, he has been at the center of negotiations on deals to avert government shutdowns for lack of funds.

Since first being elected in 1974, Leahy’s Vermont Senate seat has been considered safely in Democratic hands. While it is seen as still leaning Democratic, potential political volatility in next year’s congressional campaigns could make this race one to keep an eye on as Democrats attempt to hold onto their majority.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)

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