KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Sen. Jay Rockefeller To Retire At End Of Term

KHN tracked news coverage Friday of the announcement by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., that he will pass on making a bid for a sixth Senate term.

N.Y. Times: Senator Rockefeller Is Retiring After Five Terms
Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the scion of the Rockefeller family who established himself as a liberal voice in Congress, said on Friday that he would retire in 2014 at the completion of his fifth term in the Senate (Weisman, 1/11).

National Journal: Jay Rockefeller Retirement Brings The Old Money, Big Fame Era To An End
Rockefeller toyed with running for president in 1992 but he was a man of the Senate, making a mark in health care where he co-authored the leading children's health insurance program and the regulation of telecommunications. He had Pat Moynihan’s knack for balancing national affairs and constituent services. Teamed with former Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd, the two funneled billions back home (Cooper, 1/11).

USA Today: Rockefeller's Retirement Sparks Battle For Senate Seat
As a senator, Rockefeller is known for his work on health care and as the co-author of the Children's Health Insurance Program. During the most recent fight over health care, Rockefeller was a champion of the "public option," a government-run health insurance program. It did not make it into the final version of Obama's health care law (Camia and Kucinich, 1/11).

Charleston Gazette: Rockefeller Won't Run For Senate In 2014
He said his decision was motivated by considerations of family, and not because of an election challenge from Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who announced shortly after November's election that she would run for Rockefeller's Senate seat in 2014. West Virginia has voted increasingly Republican at the presidential level, and political observers predicted a close race between the two, partly because of Rockefeller's support for President Obama and his health care reform law (Nyden, 1/11)

The Associated Press/ABC News: Rockefeller Won't Seek Re-Election
Rockefeller defended his support of Obama and the president's signature health care overhaul, and insisted that their unpopularity with West Virginians did not influence his decision to retire. "I'm proud of that work, and if people don't like it, the more it comes into effect the more they will understand that it's good," he said of the health care reform (Messina and Raby, 1/11). 

The Hill: Sen. Rockefeller To Retire, Giving GOP A Prime Pickup Opportunity
Rockefeller is in his fifth term and was first elected to the Senate in 1984. The 75-year-old senator had long been considered a retirement risk for Democrats. Speculation about his plans mounted last June when he blasted the coal industry — the lifeblood of West Virginia’s economy — for resisting greenhouse gas regulations (Jaffe, 1/11).

Politico: Jay Rockefeller Retirement A Boon To GOP
Democrats hold a major registration advantage and control the state House, Senate and governorship. But voters have increasingly soured on national Democrats: President Barack Obama lost all 55 West Virginia counties and pulled just 36 percent of the vote. A federal prison inmate garnered 42 percent of the vote against Obama in the state’s Democratic presidential primary (Hohmann and Schultheis, 1/11).

Washington Post: The End Of The Rockefeller Political Dynasty?
The decision by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) to retire in 2014 means the nation will likely be without a Rockefeller in high office for the first time in four decades and just the second time since the 1950s (Blake, 1/11).

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