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US Sen. Tom Coburn to retire after current session, giving up last 2 years in office

FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2013 file photo, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a longtime deficit hawk, outlines his annual “Wastebook,” which points a critical finger at billions of dollars in questionable government spending during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn says he plans to finish the current year in office and resign his seat nearly two years before his term is scheduled to end. The 66-year-old Coburn released a statement late Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 saying he would give up his seat at the end of the current session of Congress, scheduled to end in January 2015.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2013 file photo, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a longtime deficit hawk, outlines his annual “Wastebook,” which points a critical finger at billions of dollars in questionable government spending during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn says he plans to finish the current year in office and resign his seat nearly two years before his term is scheduled to end. The 66-year-old Coburn released a statement late Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 saying he would give up his seat at the end of the current session of Congress, scheduled to end in January 2015.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY - U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn will finish out the current congressional session and then resign from his seat nearly two years before his term is scheduled to end, he said in a statement released late Thursday.

The 65-year-old Republican said he would give up his seat at the end of the current session in January 2015. His term was scheduled to end in 2016, and Coburn already had vowed not to seek a third.

Coburn recently was diagnosed with a recurrence of prostate cancer, but said his decision was not about his health.

Known as a conservative maverick during his three terms in the U.S. House in the 1990s, Coburn continued that role after being elected to the Senate in 2004. He was a fierce critic of what he described as excessive government spending, and was most vocal about opposing the earmarking of special projects.

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