Republican Warner to retire from Senate
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia, an influential voice in Congress on military policy, said on Friday he would not seek re-election next year -- a decision that complicates party hopes of recapturing Senate control.
Warner, 80, an ex-husband of Elizabeth Taylor who has been in the Senate for 30 years, said he would not run for a sixth six-year term.
"Everything has gone well and I want to express my profound appreciation today for all that so many have done for me," he said during an appearance at the University of Virginia.
Warner's retirement will make Virginia a crucial battleground in the fight for Senate control in the 2008 elections, turning a relatively safe seat into one Republicans will have to fight hard to retain.
Republicans will be working in 2008 to overcome a slender one-seat margin of control for Democrats, who hold a 51-49 majority.
Popular former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who left office last year, is a potential Democratic contender, and Rep. Tom Davis is a possible Republican candidate in what would be one of the premier Senate races in the country.
John Warner, a former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, openly criticized President George W. Bush's handling of the Iraq war and called on him earlier this month to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq.
The decision put Warner in the center of a growing debate in Congress over the conflict. Warner has spent months trying to develop an approach to U.S. policy in Iraq supported by Republicans and Democrats.
Warner has clashed with fellow Republicans in the Senate, voting in some cases for government funding of abortions and supporting some gun control measures. In 1994, he refused to support the conservative Republican candidate for Senate, Oliver North.
Warner was challenged for re-election in 1996 by Mark Warner, who is not related, and narrowly defeated him by 52 percent to 47 percent.
The conservative Southern state has become more Democratic since then, and James Webb won election to the U.S. Senate last year in an upset of incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen.
Warner, who enlisted in the Navy during World War II at the age of 17, also served in the Marine Corps in Korea. He was secretary of the Navy from 1972-74 in President Richard Nixon's administration.
- Special Report: Thailand secretly supplies Myanmar refugees to trafficking rings |
- NSA gathers data on cellphone locations globally: report
- The 10 Most Corrupt and Least Corrupt Countries in the World
- Dementia epidemic looms with 135 million sufferers seen by 2050
- China's airspace zone has caused apprehension: Biden |