It is unknown whether or not Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) intends to seek a third term in 2016. Considering that the election is almost four years from now, that’s not surprising.
One could argue, however, that his chances of retiring increased this morning. That is because Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) announced this morning that he was going to retire. Mr. Chambliss is up for reelection next year, and there were indications that he could face a tough primary battle.
What does this have to do with Richard Burr? Two things: one, there is the possibility that Burr could find himself in a similar situation come 2016. Burr has always been a mainstream conservative, not a Tea Party conservative. Like Chambliss, he voted for the debt deal during the lame duck session. If Burr finds himself in the midst of a tough primary challenge, then he might decide it’s better to go home than to risk defeat to a Tea Partier. And no matter what happens in a primary, the general election for his seat is certain to be competitive.
The second reason is that Saxby Chambliss is a very good friend of Burr, as is Speaker John Boehner. The three of them can often be seen dining together at restaurants on Capitol Hill. Boehner’s political future is, of course, very much in question. It’s quite possible that Senator Burr, disillusioned and frustrated with the pace of the Senate, his closest friends in Congress gone, will also leave politics.
Of course, 2016 is quite a long way away, and Burr has plenty of time to make his decision. But his chances of retiring just went up today.