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Baucus won't seek re-election

First Read confirms that Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., will not run for re-election in 2014. The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

Baucus, 71, who was first elected in 1978, currently chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee. He recently angered liberals when he voted against the background-check measure on gun control.

Baucus' decision gives Republicans a key pick-up opportunity in Montana -- where President Obama won just 42 percent of the vote in 2012.

However, a Democrat familiar with former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer's thinking says the former governor is leaning toward running for Baucus' seat, which would give Democrats a solid chance at holding onto the seat. 

So far this cycle, six Senate Democrats have announced they won't seek re-election -- Baucus, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Carl Levin of Michigan, and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. And two Republicans have announced their upcoming retirements -- Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Mike Johanns of Nebraska.