Capitol Hill isn’t a happy or easy place to be these days, and several senators could be eyeing the exits ahead of 2016.
While no official retirement statements have come out of the upper chamber yet, it’s safe to assume that many politicians are using the holidays to ponder their future.
Here are 10 senators who could potentially step down after the 114th Congress.
Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerDems gain upper hand on budget Overnight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (D-Calif.)
Boxer’s fundraising efforts have lapsed, stoking speculation that the longtime liberal senator is ready to hang it up.
That’s in stark contrast to her fundraising efforts from the same quarter ahead of her successful 2010 reelection, when she raised $2.6 million and sat on more than $3.6 million.
Boxer, who is 74, told The Associated Press earlier this year that she’ll make an announcement in early 2015.
If she does retire, Democrats' deep bench of diverse potential candidates includes Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Vitter announced earlier this year that he intends to run for governor of Louisiana in 2015 to succeed term-limited Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.).
Since it’s a year before he’d be up for reelection in the Senate, if he wins, he could retire from the Senate and appoint an interim replacement to his seat in the upper chamber. If he loses the governor’s race, he could still run for reelection to the Senate in 2016.
Analysts say Vitter, who coasted to reelection in 2010 despite previously having admitted to being a client to the infamous “D.C. Madam,” is the overwhelming favorite to take the governor’s mansion in a state that has turned deep red in recent cycles.
However, the Louisiana gubernatorial race is a jungle primary, so Vitter’s toughest challenge could come from another Republican. Strategists say Vitter would easily dispatch of any potential Democratic foes, but if none make it to the runoff, they say anything could happen between two Republicans going head to head.
Rep. John FlemingJohn FlemingGOP grills IRS chief on impeachment Louisiana Republicans: This isn’t like Sandy GOP averts vote on impeaching IRS commissioner MORE (R-La.) has also expressed interest in the seat, and Rep. Charles BoustanyCharles BoustanyLawmakers call for end to Medicare 'experiments' House passes bill exempting some from ObamaCare mandate Louisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator MORE Jr. (R-La.) has also been mentioned. Republicans in the state also have a deep bench of potential state-level candidates.
Rubio’s Senate career is at a crossroads.
He’s been laying the groundwork for a presidential run, but Florida state law prohibits him from running for the Senate and White House at the same time. Unlike Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulHow low is the bar for presidential candidates, anyway? Lawmaker seeks to investigate Obama's foreign tax compliance law Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (R-Ky.), who is seeking a work-around to the same conundrum in his home state, Rubio has said he won’t seek both.
That means if Rubio takes the presidential plunge, he’ll have to retire from the Senate.
If that’s the path he takes, Florida would become an instant toss-up. Democrats are already eyeing two House members from red districts in the state — Rep. Patrick Murphy and incoming Rep. Gwen Graham — as potential challengers to Rubio or whoever the GOP puts forth to run for the Senate in 2016.
Political watchers, meanwhile, have no idea whether Rubio will run for president. They believe he’s a rare political talent, but his mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is likely running for president, and the two share many of the same donors and supporters.
Rubio has maintained Bush’s decision won’t factor into his own, but polls show that most Republicans right now would side with Bush over Rubio.
Still, Rubio is a popular rising star in the party, and he has options beyond 2016. He could run for governor to succeed Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2018, and Florida’s other Senate seat, currently held by Sen. Bill NelsonBill NelsonElection-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks Overnight Energy: Judges scrutinize Obama climate rule MORE (D-Fla.), will also be up for grabs that year.
Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinElection-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Mylan CEO should be ashamed of EpiPen prices Overnight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks MORE (D-W.Va.)
Manchin, a centrist Democrat from a red state, has been vocal about his frustrations with gridlock on Capitol Hill and the leadership in his own party.
That could have him eyeing a return to his old job as governor of West Virginia, a post he held from 2005 to 2010.
“There is definitely that consideration," he told The Register-Herald in November. "If I don't see the opportunities to really help my country and my state, and things just stay the same and we continue to hear the rhetoric, if it's the same-old same-old, it's not a place I'd desire to be.”
"If there is an opportunity in West Virginia and the people would want me to come back home, I would definitely consider that move," he added.
The Hill reported earlier this year that Manchin gave generously to state officials from his campaign account in 2014, potentially laying the groundwork for a return there.
Democrats would be hard pressed to hold Manchin’s seat should he leave Washington.
In 2016, it will have been 20 years since West Virginia voted for a Democratic presidential candidate, and Republican Sen.-elect Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoOvernight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security Senate committee to consider miner pension bill GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE crushed her Democratic opponent in 2014 by nearly 30 percentage points.
Reid has said he’s running for reelection and reports indicate he’s beginning to staff up, but would the 75-year-old outgoing Senate majority leader stand in for another fight if he was a long shot?
In 2010, Reid survived the Tea Party wave in large part because of the disastrous candidacy of GOP nominee Sharron Angle. But in 2016, he’ll be a top target for Republicans.
Reid is underwater among Nevada voters, and if Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.) jumps in, the longtime Senate Democrat would become an instant underdog.
Reid, who has more than $1.5 million in cash on hand, has experienced backlash from some centrists in his party who are ready for new leadership after November's losses.
Coats has retired once before, spending more than a decade outside of Washington before returning for a third term in 2010.
He’s expressed frustration with the gridlock in Congress, but earlier this year, he told The Elkhart Truth that a Republican majority would factor into his decision to run for reelection.
Republicans took the Senate in 2014, but that majority could be short-lived. Coats presently has less than $800,000 in his campaign account.
Sen. John McCainJohn McCainGOP lawmakers slam secret agreement to help lift Iran bank sanctions Kerry: US 'on the verge' of suspending talks with Russia on Syria Trump, Clinton to headline Al Smith dinner MORE (R-Ariz.)
The 2008 GOP presidential nominee has openly mulled retiring when his term ends in 2016.
“The president and I, he's in his last term, I'm probably in mine, the relationship we have had over the past three years is quite good,” he told The Wrap in an interview last year, adding that he didn’t want to be “one of these old guys that should’ve shoved off.”
He’s since changed his tune, telling The Arizona Republic that he’s “seriously considering” and “leaning towards" running for reelection.
Still, the 78-year-old knows what kind of challenges lie ahead. He’s acknowledged that he’ll likely get a primary challenger from the right, and if that’s not something the no-nonsense five-term senator wants to deal with, he could shove off sooner rather than later.
Grassley told a public TV station in Iowa earlier this year that he intends to run for reelection in 2016. He said that with Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinGrassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream Do candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? MORE (D-Iowa) retiring at the end of the year, he didn’t want to leave the Hawkeye State with two junior senators.
Still, Grassley would be pushing 90 by the end of his next term, but he proved in 2014 he can still handle the rigors of the campaign trail. He crossed the state on behalf of Republican candidates, and he’s an avid runner to boot. The Republican has more than $1.7 million in his campaign account.
Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyOvernight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security Leahy wants Judiciary hearing on Yahoo Overnight Cybersecurity: FBI probes possible hack of Dems' phones | Trump's '400-pound hacker' | Pressure builds on Yahoo | Poll trolls run wild MORE (D-Vt.)
Leahy told reporters at the end of 2013 that the government shutdown convinced him that he needed to run again to ensure that there are enough “grown ups” in Washington to run things.
But at 74 years old and with four decades in Congress behind him, he’s among the most senior members in the upper chamber. He’ll also be losing his chairmanship on the Senate Judiciary Committee when Republicans take over in January.
If he did step aside, his seat would likely be a safe one for Democrats in liberal Vermont.
Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiSenate Dems: Add Flint aid to spending deal This week: Shutdown deadline looms over Congress Week ahead: Key court date for climate rule; Fight over Flint aid MORE (D-Md.)
Mikulski, 78, will also be losing a gavel this year.
However, the first woman to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee appears committed to seeking a fifth term.
She has sought to rally Democrats in Maryland after the party suffered a devastating loss in the race for the governor’s mansion. She is also looking to appoint a party “loyalist” to ease her transition into the 2016 election cycle.
She has less than $900,000 in cash on hand.