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Senate veteran Barnes is retiring

CONCORD -- The Senate's longest-serving member is retiring.

Sen. Jack Barnes, R-Raymond, has represented District 17 for nearly 20 years.

Rep. John Reagan, R-Deerfield, will be seeking the seat, whom Barnes 'personally called upon ... to be his successor,' according to a press release from Reagan late Monday.

Barnes' decision brings the number of senators leaving office to nine, more than one-third of the body.

Barnes, 81, was first elected in 1992, and has represented District 17 continuously since then, with the exception of 1998-2000.

Barnes, who fought in the Korean War, is known for his advocacy of veterans' issues -- and as a die-hard Red Sox fan.

Senate leaders were not informed of Barnes' decision, but several praised his dedication and passion.

'He's certainly earned the right to do this in his own way,' said Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, referring to Barnes' retirement.

Barnes has not indicated why he decided to retire, although he has expressed disapproval of some of the changes brought by the new Senate redistricting map, lamenting ahead of a vote earlier this year that he would be losing five communities.

Barnes could not be reached for comment.

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