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Virginia Sen. Warner Will Leave at End of Term

Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia said Friday he will retire at the end of his fifth term after 30 years in the U.S. Senate, capping what he called a magnificent career.

"My work and service to Virginia as a senator will be finished" on Jan. 6, 2009, he said in a brief news conference at the University of Virginia. He thanked his state for allowing him a have "a magnificent and very rewarding career."

For decades, Warner — who chaired the Armed Services Committee when the GOP controlled the Senate — has been one of the most influential voices in Congress on military issues and a key player in the debate over Iraq. Earlier this month, he joined a growing chorus of key Republican leaders who have called for the start of a U.S. troop withdrawal.

"I really firmly believe the Iraqi government ... [has] let our troops down," Warner said.

The 80-year-old Republican would have been a favorite to keep his seat, but his retirement gives Democrats a chance to capture the seat in the state.

If Warner had sought a sixth term, he would have been nearly 88 by the time it ended in 2015. He first won the seat in 1978 when he was married to Elizabeth Taylor.

From NPR reports and The Associated Press

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