The White House is expected to tap Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) as U.S. Ambassador to China, The Huffington Post confirmed on Wednesday.
Baucus, who's served in the Senate since 1978, announced he would not seek reelection in April. In his retirement statement, the senator said he looked forward to spending more time with his family in his home state.
"I want to come home and spend time with Mel, my son Zeno, and our family enjoying the Montana public lands we’ve fought hard to keep open and untarnished," he said at the time.
According to the Washington Post, the senator will be succeeded by Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D):
.@pkcapitol also confirms: Montana Lt Gov Walsh will get appointment to Baucus's seat and run as incumbent for full 6-yr term.
— Ed O'Keefe (@edatpost) December 18, 2013
Politico was the first to report the news.
More from the Associated Press:
President Barack Obama intends to nominate Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as ambassador to China, Democratic officials said Wednesday, turning to a lawmaker well-versed in trade issues to fill one of the nation's most important diplomatic posts.
If confirmed by the Senate, Baucus would replace Ambassador Gary Locke, who announced last month he was stepping down.
There was no immediate comment from the White House on the disclosure, which was made by officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the nomination publicly before a formal announcement.
Kathy Weber, a spokeswoman in Baucus' office, declined to confirm the move but said, "Max has given his life to public service and when asked to serve he takes that request very seriously."
Baucus, 72, was first elected to the Senate in 1978, and since early 2007 has been chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The panel has jurisdiction over taxes, trade, health care and more.