Newspaper article Roll Call

Michigan: Levin Announces He Will Retire in '14

Newspaper article Roll Call

Michigan: Levin Announces He Will Retire in '14

Article excerpt

Updated 7:37 p.m. | Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of 2014.

The chairman of the Armed Services Committee, first elected in 1978, is the longest-serving senator in Michigan history and will turn 80 before Election Day next year.

In a statement, Levin said the decision not to seek another term was "extremely difficult."

"I love representing the people of Michigan in the U.S. Senate and fighting for the things that I believe are important to them," he said. "As Barbara and I struggled with the question of whether I should run again, we focused on our belief that our country is at a crossroads that will determine our economic health and security for decades to come. We decided that I can best serve my state and nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us that I am in a position to help address; in other words, by doing my job without the distraction of campaigning for re- election."

Levin would have been heavily favored to win another term heading into 2014. The six-term senator has not faced a tough contest in almost three decades: He has won with at least 57 percent of the vote since his first re-election in 1984.

It's unlikely -- but not impossible -- that the race for Levin's successor will be competitive. In 2012, President Barack Obama won the Wolverine State by 9 points. In fact, a GOP presidential nominee has not won Michigan since 1988, and the state has only elected one Republican -- former Sen. Spencer Abraham in 1994 -- to a single term since 1972.

Contenders from both parties could come from the House: Rep. Gary Peters, a Democrat, has said he's keeping his options open for 2014, and Michigan Republicans said Rep. Justin Amash is eyeing the seat.

Democrats also named Jocelyn Benson, nominee for secretary of state in 2010, and former Rep. Mark Schauer as potential candidates. State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer could also consider a bid, though she announced earlier this year that she would not run for governor because of family considerations. …

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