Sen. Carl Levin: Current term will be my last - FOX 32 News Chicago

Sen. Carl Levin: Current term will be my last

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Sen. Carl Levin  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Sen. Carl Levin (Credit: Fox 2 News)
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -

A man who serves Michigan and the United States of America with honor, dignity and grace.  A man who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978.  The longest serving senator in Michigan's history, Democratic Senator Carl Levin has decided he will not seek re-election in 2014.

"Michigan voters felt a kinship with Senator Levin," said Rocky Raczkowski.  "They like the guy.  He's an adorable, likeable, loveable fellow.  He's like the grandfather that everybody could turn to."

"I'd heard it about a month ago that there were rumblings that it was going to happen," said Steve Hood.  "They were just waiting on the right time to do it."

A seat that was safe will soon be up for grabs.  So who will go for it?  Politicians and political consultants weighed in.

"I think you'll definitely see Geoff Fieger," Hood said.  "I think you'll definitely see Gary Peters, and also a dark horse may be Gretchen Whitmer."

"I think Gary Peters right now probably is the frontrunner," said Adolph Mongo.

"The general election will be the first real test of Lon Johnson and the new Democratic Party leadership.  It will be his first real test to see if he can retain that as a Democratic seat," said Hood.

"This is like Christmas for Republicans because this means the seat is open and its competitive in a gubernatorial year," Raczkowski said.

"I see Mike Bouchard coming out.  I also see Clark Durant coming back to try it again, Pete Hoekstra, but they could all be trumped by Ruth Johnson," Hood said.  "The dark horse in that race would be Brian Calley if Governor Snyder decides to shake up his cabinet before his run."

We have to add two other possible GOP candidates -- U.S. Rep. Justin Amash and state Senator Roger Kahn.

"You've got a whole host, just a big, deep bench of Candice Miller, David Camp... Mike Rogers... and you've got a whole host of other business people that are Republicans that the Republicans feel comfortable with that actually can connect with Michigan voters across the board," said Raczkowski.

"They're going to try to turn Michigan into a red state," said Mongo.

Since there will be a Senate seat open along with the race for governor here in Michigan, the Democratic Party will have to produce two powerhouse candidates.  Here's the issue.  If those two candidates have their eyes on the same prize, that's no good.  Why?  You need a strong leader for both jobs, one who knows his or her position has an eight year max, and the other who could serve until he or she decides to call it quits.

Nationally, Senator Levin's news could prove pivotal, too.  Money spent running races in Michigan could take away from the pot for Senate races in swing states.

"It also plays in to the presidential election in 2016," said Hood.

In a prepared 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."

"I think he's going to go out like he was there, just classy and deliberative and just standing up for the people," Hood said.  "I just wish we could turn back the clock and have him on [Detroit] City Council right now.  We wouldn't have this mess."

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