Washington, D.C.

Rep. John Dingell has announced his retirement after his current term in the House of Representatives expires, he served 58 years and has become the longest-serving member of Congress, surpassing Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia.

Dingell joins U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, also of Michigan, who announced retirement last year and is part of a larger race to the exit for both parties.

“Both parties largely see their own future as stable and continuing, which lets older members leave and pass things onto their more junior party members,” says political analyst Stan Breneke.

In recent years, Dingell has begun to suffer the aches and pains of old age, needing a cain and then a wheelchair to get around, but aids to Dingell say his mind is still sharp.

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