Matt Lewis

Why Jay Rockefeller is retiring

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

As Alexis Levinson noted, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller is set to retire at the end of his term.

This is not an accident. Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito had already given him a courtesy heads-up she would be running against him. What is more, Rockefeller had little support among the coal industry in his state.

There are other reasons. As one senate staffer told me, “Senator Rockefeller didn’t seem to have much left in the tank. He is getting older and his back is causing him trouble. He is very nice but like a lot of these members, they get old, they get tired and under a system where Harry Reid allows for no regular order and work by the committees, it is hard to see any reasons why he would want to stay.”

Coming on the heels of the 2010 death of W. Va. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, this is clearly the end of an era. Republicans will wish him well. It will be interesting to see if he tries to accomplish any “legacy” project between now and 2014.