WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus says he won't run for re-election next year.

The Montana Democrat said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press today that he doesn't "want to die here with my boots on." He says, "There is life beyond Congress."

Baucus has been a fixture in the Senate since 1979 and has been the top Democrat on the Finance panel since 2001. He faced a tough re-election bid next year, with opposition to the health care law in his state taking a toll on his approval ratings.

The 71-year-old Baucus steered the health care overhaul into law in 2010 but broke with his party on gun control.