U.S Senator Carl Levin says he won't run for re-election next year. The Democrat was first elected to the Senate in 1978.
The Detroit Free Press reports that Levin's retirement comes as Democrats in Michigan are looking for a strong candidate to challenge Governor Rick Snyder next year.
The Detroit News notes this will be the first open U.S. Senate seat in Michigan in 20 years.
Levin became Michigan's longest serving U.S. Senator in 2002. In a statement the Senator says he can best serve Michigan by concentrating on important issues without the distraction of campaigning for re-election.
Mlive has a look at potential candidates for U.S. Senate in Michigan in 2014.
Update: The White House issued a statement from President Obama on Levin's decision not to run for re-election:
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.
Governor Snyder also issued a statement commending Levin for his service to Michigan:
“For more than 30 years, Carl Levin has been a thoughtful, compassionate voice in Washington. He effectively brought the needs and concerns of Michiganders to the halls of the Capitol. His service on behalf of Michigan and America is commendable. On behalf of our entire state, I applaud Sen. Levin for his dedication and wish him a healthy, fulfilling retirement.”