Just days after announcing he will not seek re-election, Senator Max Baucus wrote an op-ed in the Great Falls Tribune thanking the people of Montana for their support. While using the op-ed to talk about issues important to his state, Baucus wrote of his accomplishments, his family and what he hopes to achieve before his sixth term comes to an end.
He also spoke broadly about his decision to leave office, writing that Montana’s landscape and wildlife had called out to him, drawing him away from Washington. Baucus writes:
This was not an easy decision (to not seek re-election), but the last few months I’ve felt the calling:
It whispered to me among the elk resting in a meadow east of the Bridger Mountains.
I heard it as thousands of snow geese flew over the Rocky Mountain Front.
The pull came up from my soul like the ducks that rose in clouds from the winter wheat fields of Teton County at dusk.
While the soul-stirring vision of Montana’s landscape may be reason enough to retire from the Senate, 71-year-old Baucus may have had another reason to not seek re-election. A poll taken by Public Policy Polling back in February showed Senator Baucus 11 points behind Governor Brian Schweitzer–a possible Senate candidate. After his recent “no” vote on background checks for gun purchases, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee called on Schweitzer to run. Though Baucus has long taken fire from progressives–he has an A- rating from the NRA–this time he seemed politically vulnerable.
In the op-ed Baucus assures the people of Montana that he’ll continue to work for them, even as he contemplates retirement.
I want to make one thing clear: There is important work left to do, and I intend to spend the next year and a half getting it done. I’m not turning out to pasture… I am focused on simplifying the tax code, tackling the debt, passing trade agreements, and implementing affordable healthcare for families.
It’s certainly an ambitious agenda given the length of time the Senator has left.
He closed by saying, “I want you to know I am grateful for the privilege to serve you. I look forward to working with you as I continue to serve the state I love for the next year and a half.”