Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the Senate’s longest-serving member in the chamber, and the third in line to the presidency, announced on Monday that he will retire in 2022, rather than seek a historic ninth term.

“I’m proud to be Vermont’s longest-serving senator, because I know my time in the Senate has made a difference for Vermonters,” Leahy told a crowd gathered at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier, at times choking up.

“I’ve brought Vermont’s voice to the United States Senate and Vermont’s values around the world,” Leahy said, accompanied by his beloved wife of nearly 60 years, Marcelle. “And while I will continue to serve Vermont, Marcelle and I have reached a conclusion that it’s time to put down the gavel, that it’s time to pass the torch to the next Vermonter. It’s time to come home.”

Leahy added, “I am confident the nation will remain resilient and the next generation will ensure our democracy remains whole and strident.”

Leahy, 81, was first elected to the Senate in 1974 and will retire after serving 48 years. He is currently the president pro tempore of the Senate, making him third in the presidential line of succession, and heads the Appropriations Committee, the third panel Leahy has chaired across his career in the upper chamber.

Leany is the fifth-longest serving senator in history, and his announcement was sure to set off a scramble to fill the seat. Most experts believe, however, that Rep. Peter Welch, (D-VT) has the upper hand for the nomination.

Leahy has enjoyed somewhat a cult status for Batman movie buffs, having appeared in five of the blockbuster hits, including Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.”

Leahy, a self-confessed Batman movie fan, he wrote the forward to a related book in 1992 and the first appeared in 1995 alongside Val Kilmer, Jim Carey, and Tommy Lee Jones with an uncredited cameo. Perhaps his best-known appearance came in 2008 when he played a Wayne Enterprises board member in “The Dark Knight.” A wide-eyed Leahy was manhandled by the Oscar-winning Heath Ledger, who played the Joker.

As you can see, Leahy is a man of many talents, including an avid photographer as well as a marksman.

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