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Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.), who has caused many headaches for his own party leaders by being one of President Bush’s staunchest allies in the Senate, announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election.

The move did not surprise leaders in either party because the 70-year-old Miller, who was appointed to the seat after the death of Sen. Paul Coverdell (R) and then won a special election to fill out the remainder of the term, has never expressed a desire to stick around the Senate for very long.

Miller made the announcement on his official Web site on the second day of the 108th Congress.

“I wanted to make my plans known early so that those who want to run can begin their preparation,” Miller said in the prepared statement.

“I realize some will call me a ‘lame duck.’ But those who know me know I will be the ‘same duck,’ continuing to serve no single party but all the people of Georgia.”

There is expected to be a mad scramble by House Members in both parties to replace Miller. Former Sen. Max Cleland (D), who was defeated by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) in November, will also likely be encouraged to mount a comeback.

“I will neither endorse nor campaign for any candidate seeking this seat, but I will resign within days after the November 2004 election so that my successor can begin to serve immediately and gain additional seniority,” Miller said in his official statement.

For more on Miller’s retirement, don’t miss Thursday’s edition of Roll Call newspaper.

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