(NEW YORK TIMES) Senator Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the Finance Committee, will retire from the Senate after 36 years, becoming the sixth Senate Democrat to leave the chamber in the 2014 elections, according to Democratic officials close to the senator.

A Democratic official said former Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana, a Democrat and still one of the most popular political figures in the state, is leaning toward running for the seat, giving the party a strong chance at retaining it. But Mr. Baucus’s departure means the Democrats will now be defending open seats in Iowa, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota and West Virginia.

As recently as Friday, aides to Mr. Baucus indicated that he had no intention of retiring. He had amassed a $5 million campaign treasury and was in New York last week meeting with donors. His votes against gun legislation promoted by President Obama and against the Democratic leadership’s budget plan seemed calculated to appeal to conservative voters in his state.

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.