Stephen Brewer, a Top State Senate Budget Leader, To Retire

The chairman of the Massachusetts Ways & Means Committee is the last of Therese Murray's top leaders to depart.

Massachusetts State Sen. Stephen Brewer of Barre, the chairman of the state senate Ways & Means Committee, has begun informing people that he will not run for re-election this year, I have been told by people with direct knowledge. Brewer and his office have not responded to requests for comment.

His retirement will bring to a close his 26-year career on Beacon Hill, including nine terms in the Senate. Elevated by Senate president Therese Murray to her former post in charge of writing the state’s budget, Brewer was unable to gain support to succeed Murray when she is term-limited out of the presidency next year.

Brewer is the latest of Murray’s top leaders to leave as her tenure as president winds down. Fred Berry and Jack Hart both left the Senate a year ago.

Brewer lost the succession struggle to Amherst senator Stan Rosenberg, who claims the support of enough colleagues to ensure his election as president when Murray steps down. Brewer is likely to lose his coveted Ways & Means chair under Rosenberg, according to Senate insiders.

Republicans James Ehrhard and Michael Valanzola have already launched campaigns in Brewer’s Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire & Franklin Senate district. With Brewer’s decision not to run, a number of Democrats are expected to consider entering the race.