U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced Thursday evening he will leave behind his Senate seat at the end of this Congress. That will leave two years remaining in his term.
The end of the current session is January 2015.
An email from Coburn's office said the decision to leave was not because of his health. He is a cancer survivor and was recently diagnosed with cancer again.
Coburn's departure comes in time for the election of a replacement during this year's balloting. But the timing would be shorter than usual for a statewide race. His retirement also means both of Oklahoma's U.S. Senate seats will be on the ballot.
Coburn has long said he would not seek another term to the U.S. Senate.
"Our founders saw public service and politics as a calling rather than a career," Coburn's message said. "That’s how I saw it when I first ran for office in 1994, and that’s how I still see it today. I believe it’s important to live under the laws I helped write, and even those I fought hard to block."
Coburn, who is 65 years old, said, “As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere. In the meantime, I look forward to finishing this year strong. I intend to continue our fight for Oklahoma, and will do everything in my power to force the Senate to re-embrace its heritage of debate, deliberation and consensus as we face our many challenges ahead."