Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana will not seek another term in office, he said Tuesday.
Coats told the political news website Indy Politics that his age and his preference to legislate rather than campaign both played a role in his decision, which he told Senate leaders about Tuesday.
In a statement, Coats pledged to focus his time and energy in his remaining months in office on the "major challenges that Hoosiers sent me to Washington to address."
"This was not an easy decision," Coats said in the statement. "While I believe I am well-positioned to run a successful campaign for another six-year term, I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders."
Coats was a member of the House of Representatives from 1981 to 1989, when he became a senator. He served until 1999, when he stepped down because of a term-limit pledge he'd made to the Indiana electorate. In between two stints in the private sector, he served as ambassador to Germany. He was elected to the Senate again in 2010.
Earlier this month, Coats told Politico that he wouldn't run for a second term unless he was confident that Congress would be able to accomplish something. But in an interview with Howey Politics Indiana, he said congressional gridlock didn't factor into his decision.
"It has nothing to do with a terribly dysfunctional Senate," he said. "It is related to the fact that I had to face the reality of age. There is a seven in front of the next digit. After a campaign and six more years in the Senate, I would be four months shy of 80 years old."
In the same interview, he said by retiring he'd also avoid the cross-country fundraising that accompanies campaigning.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Roger Wicker said in a statement that Coats has been a "dedicated advocate" for Indiana and that he's sure they'll be able to fill his position well.
"We have a strong Republican bench in Indiana, and I am confident we will have another capable Republican joining us in the Senate in 2016 to continue Dan's great work," he said.
According to Indiana press reports, possible Republican contenders include a handful of current House members: Larry Bucshon, Todd Rokita, Marlin Stutzman, Luke Messer, Todd Young, and Susan Brooks. Also mentioned are Brian Bosma, speaker of the Indiana House, and Eric Holcomb, Coats's in-state chief of staff.
On the Democratic side, there's been some chatter over whether former Sen. Evan Bayh will throw his hat in the ring. Coats took Bayh's seat after Bayh decided in 2010 not to run for reelection. At the time, Bayh cited dysfunction in the Senate as his reason for departing, a sentiment that Coats echoed in his early-March comments to Politico.
"There is too much partisanship and not enough progress—too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving," Bayh said in a statement on his retirement. "Even at a time of enormous challenge, the people's business is not being done."
On Monday, Bayh said he has "no interest at this point" in running again for the Senate.
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