Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats announced Tuesday that he plans to retire from Congress, saying he won’t run for re-election next year.
Coats, a 71-year-old veteran lawmaker who returned to the U.S. Senate in 2011 after leaving the body in 1999, said he plans to finish out his six-year term instead of launching another campaign.
“This was not an easy decision,” Coats said in a statement. “While I believe I am well-positioned to run a successful campaign for another six-year term, I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders.”
Before his election again to the Senate in 2010, Coats served in the House of Representatives and the Senate from 1981 to 1999.
Coats is also a former U.S. ambassador to Germany.
“Washington is going to miss Senator Coats’ expertise on economic and national security issues, and I’m going to miss his wise counsel and trusted friendship here in the Senate,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the announcement.
As attention turns to the open race in Indiana, Democrats are arguing that they have a real shot at taking over the seat in 2016.
“Indiana’s Senate race is now one of the most competitive Senate races in the country, and Democrats are ready to put together a strong campaign just like we did in 2012,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman Jon Tester said. “We’re confident that we will find a great candidate who will put Indiana first and win this seat in 2016.”