Well this makes things interesting…
U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) announced today that he will not run for re-election in 2014, a move that opens the seat to a newcomer and has Republicans licking their chops at the chance to run for a Senate seat against someone who is not a powerful incumbent. In his statement, Levin said:
This decision was extremely difficult 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.
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.
You can read the whole statement HERE.
In a tribute to Senator Levin’s gravitas, President Obama issued this statement:
If you’ve ever worn the uniform, worked a shift on an assembly line, or sacrificed to make ends meet, then you’ve had a voice and a vote in Senator Carl Levin. No one has worked harder to bring manufacturing jobs back to our shores, close unfair tax loopholes, and ensure that everyone plays by the same set of rules. As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Levin is a true champion for all those who serve, and his tireless work will be missed not just in his home state of Michigan, but by military families across our country. Michelle and I wish Carl, Barbara and their family all the best, and I look forward to working with Carl over the next two years as we continue tackling some of our nation’s toughest challenges.
There are literally dozens of Republicans who are apt to vie for the seat:
- Failed Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra
- U.S. Rep. Candice Miller
- U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers
- U.S. Rep. Dave Camp
- U.S. Rep. Fred Upton
- U.S. Rep. Justin Amash
- Tea party Lt. Gov. Brian Calley
- Attorney General Bill Schuette
- Former Gov. John Engler
- Skabillionaire Dick DeVos
Just typing that list of names gives me the howling fantods.
The obvious choice on every Democrat’s mind is U.S. Congressman Gary Peters who would make a stellar candidate and an even more stellar senator. Always a class act, Rep. Peters released this statement about Senator Levin’s retirement:
For over three decades, middle class families in Michigan have woken up each day secure in the knowledge that they had a champion in Washington. Carl Levin’s place in history belongs alongside Michigan’s greatest statesmen: Lewis Cass, Gerald Ford, and the conscience of the Senate, Senator Philip Hart, a mantle that today is carried by Carl Levin. When I began my own career in public service, his was the example I held myself up to. Like Carl has for so many others, he became a mentor to me over the years and I’m proud to call him my friend. His leadership will be missed, but his legacy to Michigan and this country will outlive all of us.
This is a turn of events that will turn Michigan politics upside-down for the next 20 months and add even more drama to a midterm election that is already shaping up to be a battle of epic proportions. In some ways, it’s a godsend to Democrats who tend to stay home on election day in midterm years. Between this, the intense desire to drive far right ideologues out of every state Senate and House seat across the state, and the building momentum to make Rick Snyder a one-term nerd, I suspect we’re going to see a huge Democratic turnout unlike any we have seen in years. Hallelujah.
By the way, if anyone needs a Levin yard sign, I know someone who has an entire garage full of them.
[Carl Levin photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]