Jesse Helms, 79, 2001 News
conservative Republican senator from North Carolina, announced in August that he would not seek reelection in 2002. The darling of the right, Helms has served in the Senate since 1972 and often sparked the ire of moderates and liberals with his archconservatism. He cited failing health for his decision. Pundits immediately began speculating who would run for his seat.