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West Virginia Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller Will Retire

Walter Hickey

Sen. Jay Rockefeller will announce this morning that he does not plan to run for a sixth term in the U.S. Senate, Politico reports. 

This further complicates Democratic hopes of maintaining control of the Senate in 2014, as Rockefeller's longevity and popularity meant that the Democrat could reliably hold a seat in deep red West Virginia.

With his exit, the seat could very well easily go to a Republican. 

The 75-year-old Rockefeller was one of the most senior in the body and is the chairman of the Commerce Science and Transportation committee. 

Rockefeller is holding a press conference at 11 a.m. to discuss his decision. We'll update with more details.

UPDATE: Rockefeller, in a speech announcing his retirement, reflected on his achievements. He mentioned the Earned Income Tax Credit and his wooing of Toyota and 21 other Japanese compnies to West Virginia. 

Rockefeller believes "the peak moment of his career" was threatening to keep the Senate in over Christmas if they didn't pas the 1992 Coal Act, which established lifetime health benefits for coal miners. 

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