What's next in Michigan politics after Levin's retirement

Mar 8, 2013

U.S. Senator Carl Levin's decision not to seek re-election next year means a wide-open field in next year's election. Western Michigan University Political Science Professor John Clark discusses the political landscape with WMUK's Gordon Evans. 

Senator Carl Levin
Credit U.S. Senate website

Clark says many politicians will be tempted to run for the Senate seat. He says they will have to decide if they want to run in a what will likely be a crowded primary. For members of Congress that may mean givng up a safe U.S House seat. Clark says the six-year term in the Senate is likely to look better than the two year or four year terms for other offices. He says some elected officials may be term-limited now or in the near future. Clark says that may also be a factor in decisions about whether or not to launch a campaign for Senate. 

John Clark
Credit Western Michigan University

Michigan Democrats have already been casting about for a candidate to run for governor and now must find a new candidate for U.S. Senate. Raising money is a big factor in those races. Clark says the fund-raising bases for the races are quite different. He says most of the money for the governor's race will be raised within the state while the U.S. Senate race will attract more national interest and money from national groups. 

Clark says the first U.S. Senate race without an incumbent in 20 years will likely bring a lot of national attention, and a lot of money and advertising. He says Michigan may see more issue ads that usual for a U.S. Senate election. 

Many of the names being mentioned as possible candidates in next year's election currently hold elected office. Those include Democratic Congressman Gary Peters and Republican Congressman Justin Amash who represents Battle Creek and Grand Rapids in the U.S. House. Clark says that could lead to a lot of jockeying among potential candidates. He says if the Senate field is crowded it could create some openings at the Congressional level.