There is that lasting image of Dick Trickle in the Winston 500 lighting up a cigarette while driving his stock car with his knees during a caution lap.
The 2014 election battle for control of the Senate will affect just about everything the upper chamber does this year and next, because it could take just a handful of upsets to put the Republicans back in charge.
Montana Sen. Max Baucus said Tuesday he won't seek a seventh term next year, saying he wants to spend the next year and a half on Capitol Hill focused on serving his constituents and chairing the powerful Senate Finance Committee without the distraction of running for re-election.
After South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson's embrace of gay marriage last week, activists who have made the issue a litmus test for Democratic Party officeholders are cranking up the heat on the three remaining holdouts among Democrats in the Senate.
The head of the Senate Conservative Fund said Wednesday that the group will not support former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds in the race to replace retiring Sen. Tim Johnson, the Democrat who announced this week he will not seek re-election in 2014.
Bookended by a pair of standing ovations, Sen. Tim Johnson, South Dakota Democrat, announced Tuesday that it is time to "close a circle" of service than began more than 30 years ago and leave the upper chamber in Washington when his term expires in 2014.
Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson said Tuesday it is time to "close a circle that began 36 years ago" and leave the upper chamber in Washington when his term expires in 2014.
Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota plans to announce on Tuesday that he will not seek re-election in 2014, according to news reports — opening up a prime opportunity for Republicans to pick up a seat in a red state and cut into the Democratic majority in the Senate.
The decision by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, not to seek another term in the Senate is the first dent in Democrats' chances of hanging onto power in the upper chamber in 2014 — and emblematic of the challenges the party faces in protecting seats they hold in red states.