Democratic New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg said Friday he will spend his last two years in office fighting for the same causes he always has.
Lautenberg, 89, spoke Friday in Paterson, N.J., a day after he confirmed he would not seek re-election in 2014, a decision that was first reported by NBC 4 New York.
"I am not announcing a retirement," Lautenberg said in a speech in his hometown of Paterson. "I am announcing today I will be continuing on my mission to do the right thing wherever I can."
Lautenberg, the oldest member of the Senate, made no mention of any Democrat who he might like to succeed him.
His revelation Thursday he would not seek re-election in 2014 cleared the way for Newark Mayor Cory Booker to accelerate his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat. Booker's announcement in December that he intended to run for the seat had angered Lautenberg, who had wanted the Democratic mayor to hold off until he decided his plans.
Lautenberg also did not say why he decided to retire when his term ends in 2015. He joked at least twice about possibly staying on. "Too late to change my mind?" he asked with a smile.
Asked after his speech who he would like to see take his seat in the Senate, he joked: "Well I'd like to have my wife do it, but she's busy."
Asked why he decided to call it quits in 2015, he said: "Nothing. I think the time with family. My children, my daughters, my grandchildren live all over the country and I want to spend more time with them."