Five-term U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, the great-grandson of a famous 19th century American oil tycoon, says he will not seek a sixth term in 2014.
Rockefeller, a 75-year-old liberal Democrat, announced his decision Friday in his home state of West Virginia.
He described 2014 as “the right time to find new ways to fight” for his political beliefs, after a half century of public service that included two elected terms as the state’s governor.
The senator, whose full name is John D. Rockefeller IV, was expected to face a stiff 2014 primary challenge in his home state, where President Barack Obama and other leading Democrats have become very unpopular.
Rockefeller, who currently chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has been a strong supporter of organized labor and a key player in the president’s sweeping health care initiatives.