Senior aides to Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) told The Washington Post on Tuesday that the long-serving Democrat has decided to retire from Congress rather than seek re-election.


The Senate Finance Committee chairman has served in Congress since 1978, and played a key role in killing President Barack Obama's proposal for a "public option" in the Affordable Care Act.

While it's not clear who might have lined up to run against Baucus, recent survey data from the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling group found that his constituents had a mostly negative view of the senator.

Perhaps more troubling to Baucus: The survey also found that former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) had a much stronger positive rating, making him a key threat in the party's primary. None of the likely Republican candidates polled nearly as high, although PPP admits that "the GOP has the potential to make this race close."

------

Photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund on Flickr.