This afternoon Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) announced that his incredibly long career in politics is finally coming to a close. Rockefeller will not seek re-election in 2014. From Rockefeller’s office:
With heartfelt appreciation, Senator Jay Rockefeller today announced that he will not seek reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2014. His announcement comes as he nears 50 years of public service in West Virginia and 30 years in the Senate. Rockefeller was joined at the Culture Center in Charleston by his wife, Sharon, and their children and grandchildren, along with his sister and brother-in-law, friends and staff members.
“As I approach 50 years of public service in West Virginia, I’ve decided that 2014 will be the right moment for me to find new ways to fight for the causes I believe in and to spend more time with my incredible family. Serving West Virginia in the U.S. Senate is an abiding honor and privilege, and Sharon and I are so full of gratitude to our state and to the countless friends and supporters who have made my public service possible,” Rockefeller said. “For the next two years in the Senate, and well beyond, I will continue working tirelessly on behalf of all West Virginians. Championing those most in need has been my life’s calling, and I will never stop fighting to make a difference for the people who mean so much to me.”
This is a significant blow to Democrats. The state of West Virginia has been trending Republican for a long time, but Rockefeller was a brand unto himself in the state. While Rockefeller would probably have faced a tough election, his long history would have been a significant advantage. With Rockefeller not seeking election Democrats’ chances of holding this seat have dropped significantly.