Veteran newswoman Candy Crowley is leaving CNN after 27 years.

Crowley, the network's chief political correspondent and anchor of "State of the Union," will exit at the end of this month, she said Friday. Her final appearance hosting the "State of the Union" political broadcast is Dec. 21.

She said she doesn't yet know her next stop, but said her departure has been years in the making. She first got the itch just before the 2008 campaign, she recalled — then things got interesting with the entry of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama into the race. She couldn't tear herself away.

Two years later she was offered "State of the Union."

"Now I'm at the point where I want another chance to do something new, somewhere new," said Crowley, who turns 66 the day after Christmas. She says she made her decision at summer's end.

Crowley was an anchor for the Mutual Broadcasting System radio network, as well as a general assignment and White House correspondent for The Associated Press, before moving to NBC News' Washington bureau.

In 1987 she joined CNN, where she has covered presidential, congressional and gubernatorial elections as well as Capitol Hill. In 2012, she moderated the general election debate between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney.

Her honors include Emmy, Edward R. Murrow and DuPont-Columbia University Silver Baton awards.

"To say she lives and breathes politics is more than an understatement," CNN boss Jeff Zucker said in a staff memo Friday. "She has an innate ability to sense its nuance, push its limits and ask questions that others won't."

"I've done a lot of politics," Crowley allowed, "and I still love it. Not who wins or who loses, but who they are."

Her next job may involve more politics — or may not. In the meantime, news of her leave-taking from CNN spread quickly.

"I have 3,777 unread emails," she was saying Friday afternoon, "and I apologize to everyone who's reading this who I haven't replied to. I will!"