WASHINGTON - Sen. Frank Lautenberg, 89, announced today that he will not seek re-election.
The Garden State's political world has been waiting for this news for months, ever since Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced interest in his seat.
The Democratic icon was first elected to the U.S. Senate 30 years ago.
In a statement released this afternoon, the Senator said he will travel to his hometown of Paterson tomorrow to announce that he will not seek re-election in 2014.
"This is not the end of anything," he said, "but rather the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals, and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey."
Democrats like Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Rep. Frank Pallone, and legislative leaders like Steve Sweeney and Sheila Oliver have all been talked about as successors.
On the Republican side, talk show host Geraldo Rivera has announced interest in the seat, but it's been nearly 40 years since a Republican has held one of New Jersey's two U.S. Senate seats.