Michigan’s Carl Levin Announces Retirement From Senate
Michigan Senator Carl Levin is the latest member of the upper chamber to announce that he will not be running for re-election in 2014:
WASHINGTON — Senator Carl Levin, a liberal fixture in the Senate and in Michigan, which he has served since 1979, said Thursday that he planned to retire, saying he would spend the next two years focusing on legislative business and not campaigning.
“This decision was extremely difficult,” he said in a statement, “because I love representing the people of Michigan in the U.S. Senate and fighting for the things that I believe are important to them.”
Mr. Levin, a Democrat, is the state’s longest-serving senator.
In speaking with his wife, Mr. Levin added, “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.”
Mr. Levin, 78, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is one of a growing list of senior Democrats who will not seek re-election in 2014, leaving Republicans more opportunities in their attempt to take back the Senate. Several other Democratic incumbents are defending their seats in tough states.
Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa, Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey and John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia have said they will not seek re-election. Two Republicans, Senators Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Mike Johanns of Nebraska, have also said they will not run.
Michigan seems an unlikely pickup for Republicans in 2014. For one thing, they don’t seem to have a very deep bench of potential candidates. Pete Hoekstra was deemed to be the candidate best positioned to beat Debbie Stabenow in 2012, and he ended up losing by double digits. It’s unclear exactly who in the Michigan GOP would be positioned for a viable Senate run this time around. The Michigan GOP’s other problem is that their 2010 success in statewide elections there appears to have been something of a fluke. Since then, they’ve lost the Senate race, Mitt Romney lost the state to President Obama by nearly ten percentage points. Finally, Governor Rick Snyder, who will on the ballot for re-election in 2014, currently trails all of his prospective Democratic opponents. At this point, I’d rate Michigan a Democratic Hold.