Gordon J. Humphrey, one of the most vocal conservatives in the U.S. Senate, said Monday that he will not seek a third term.
"I'm here today to announce that two terms is plenty. Twelve years in the Senate seems like a good place to round it off," he told a news conference in his office here.
Humphrey, 48, sat on the edge of his desk and held up a large No. 2 as he announced that he will return to private life at the end of his second term in January, 1991.
"I do not want to spend 18 years in Congress," the Republican said. "It becomes a career at that point and I don't believe people should make a career in Congress."
Joking, Humphrey suggested that a line of politicians half a mile long will queue up at the secretary of state's office to file candidacy papers for his job.
His wife, Patricia, who attended the news conference with the couple's two young sons, said she had mixed feelings about the announcement.
"I'll be glad to have him home, but I think he should have run again," she said. "I think he was just hitting his stride."
Humphrey has maintained that no single reform would do more good than limiting senators and representatives to 12 years in either body, but he said because that is not the rule now, it was not reason enough to retire.
An outspoken conservative voice in the Senate since upsetting Democrat Thomas McIntyre in 1978, Humphrey has been a leader in the fights to aid Afghan guerrillas fighting Soviet troops and to outlaw abortion.