- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sen. Carl Levin, a six-term Michigan Democrat and one of the Senate’s longest serving and most influential members, said Thursday he won’t seek re-election in 2014.

Mr. Levin, 78, is the sixth senator and fourth Democrat to announce retirement ahead of the 2014 elections. His retirement creates an open seat in a state where Republicans have increasingly have done well.

Mr. Levin, chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, said he wanted to spend the remainder of his term “fighting for the things that I believe are important” without the burden of another re-election campaign, including tax and campaign reform, manufacturing, military readiness and monitoring the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the fundraising and recruiting arm of Senate Republicans, said Thursday the GOP is in good position to capture the seat, having won the governorship and a number of statewide offices in recent years.

“That is why we’ve been speaking to local officials and grass-roots organizations in preparation for Sen. Levin’s potential retirement, and now that groundwork will start to pay off,” NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring said.

Michigan’s other Democratic senator, Debbie Stabenow, said Mr. Levin’s honor and integrity are “absolutely unmatched.”

Carl is respected by our colleagues in both parties because he has always been more concerned with getting the right answer and doing the right thing, rather than earning accolades for himself or engaging in partisan fights,” she said.

Despite Republican hopes for 2014, the GOP badly lost its most recent attempt to win a Senate seat in Michigan, when Mrs. Stabenow won re-election last year by beating former Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra by more than 20 percentage points.

Possible Democratic candidates to run for the senator’s seat include Rep. Gary C. Peters, ex-Rep. Mark Schauer and state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer.

Mr. Levin was first elected to the Senate in 1978 after serving on the Detroit City Council. His older brother, Sander M. Levin, has represented southeast Michigan in the U.S. House since 1983.

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