Sen. Daniel Akaka announced Wednesday that he will not run for re-election in 2012.
The Hawaii Democrat, in his third term, is 86.
“After months of thinking about my political future, I am announcing today that I have decided not to run for re-election in 2012,” he said in a statement. “As many of you can imagine, it was a very difficult decision for me. However, I feel that the end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside.”
Akaka said he intends to serve out the remainder of his term, which would give him 22 years in the Senate and 13 in the House.
“Millie and I will return to Hawaii at the end of this Congress and spend time with our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren,” he added. “I would also like to spend time documenting my life and career, and serving as a mentor to future political leaders. I have always strived to serve the people with much love and aloha, never forgetting my humble beginnings, and it is my hope that they, too, will continue this tradition.”
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser first reported Akaka’s decision late Wednesday afternoon.
Roll Call Politics had rated this race as Likely Democratic. Former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) has expressed interest in running. Akaka's retirement means one more seat that Democrats will need to defend, although Hawaii is a bluer state than others where Senators have plans to retire.
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.