President Joe Biden and Democratic Party leaders on Capitol Hill have faced significant headwinds in their attempt to advance a progressive agenda.
According to recent reports, that process could be further complicated with the impending exit of a top White House ally.
“I have taken our best ideas and helped them grow”
As the Daily Caller noted, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced on Monday that he will not be seeking another term in Congress next year.
The long-serving senator turned 81 in March and has represented Vermont in the chamber since 1975.
Leahy confirmed his intentions in a statement on Monday in which he declared that “it is time to pass the torch” to a new generation of leaders in his state.
“I know I have been there for my state when I was needed most,” he added. “I know I have taken our best ideas and helped them grow. I brought Vermont’s voice to the United States Senate and Vermont values across the world.”
In addition to being the chamber’s longest-serving member, he also occupies the influential position as Senate pro tempore. As such, he presided over both impeachment trials against former President Donald Trump.
“He is not running for the U.S. Senate next year”
His role also makes him third in the line of presidential succession — after Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
The Daily Wire noted that speculation has already begun to swirl regarding who might fill Leahy’s soon-to-be-vacant seat. Although Vermont is a reliably blue state, some pundits suggest GOP Gov. Phil Scott could be a potential contender.
A spokesperson for the governor, however, sought to put any such notion on ice, declaring: “Governor Scott has been clear that he is not running for the U.S. Senate next year. That has not changed.”
The state’s lone House member, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), is also being named as a possible candidate.
Although Leahy has spent the longest period of time in the Senate, he is not the oldest current senator. That distinction belongs to 88-year-old Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has indicated that he intends to seek another term.