Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy announced Monday morning he will not run for a ninth term, giving Democrats their first open Senate seat of the cycle. He is the sixth senator to announce his retirement in 2022, joining five Republican lawmakers. The decision from the 81-year Appropriations Committee chairman and Senate president pro tem, currently third in line to the presidency, isn’t surprising. He’s had his own health challenges, including being briefly hospitalized earlier this year when he was presiding over former President Trump’s second impeachment trial. His wife of nearly 60 years, Marcelle, has also been undergoing treatment for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Leahy was first elected in 1974 and is Vermont’s longest-serving senator, and was also — it may be surprising to learn — the first Democrat elected to the Senate from the often quirky Green Mountain State. (The state’s other senator, Bernie Sanders, is an independent who caucuses with Democrats). But it’s been over twenty years since the state elected a Republican to federal office — then-GOP Sen. Jim Jeffords, who was re-elected in 2000 but six months later
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