Six other Republican senators have announced they’ll retire. The exits are a sign the GOP sees itself in 'back seat' for years, say analysts.
The resignation comes at a tough time for his Senate GOP colleagues. With the election of Sen. Al Franken (D) of Minnesota, they fell below the 41 votes needed to sustain a filibuster for the first time since 1977.
With the loss of the filibuster, the most powerful weapon of a Senate minority, “Republicans realized that they were in the back seat in the Senate – and would be in a back seat in the federal government for years to come,” says Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.