President Obama confirmed Friday that he will nominate Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus as ambassador to China.
“For more than two decades Max Baucus has worked to deepen the relationship between the United States and China,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “The economic agreements he helped forge have created millions of American jobs and added billions of dollars to our economy, and he’s perfectly suited to build on that progress in his new role.”
Mr. Baucus, Montana Democrat, had already decided not to run for reelection in 2014. The 72-year-old has served in the Senate since 1978.
His nomination will give Democrats an opportunity to appoint another Democrat to the Senate seat, and to give that candidate the advantage of incumbency heading into the mid-term election. The administration is worried about the prospects of losing control of the Senate to Republicans in 2015.
Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock is expected to appoint Democratic Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who is running for the Senate seat against Rep. Steve Daines, a freshman Republican.
If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Baucus will replace Ambassador Gary Locke, a former Commerce Secretary who is leaving the post to spend more time with his family.