Traverse City Record-Eagle

Op-Ed Columns

March 10, 2013

George Weeks: Republicans praise Democrat Levin

In the wake of his announcement not to seek a seventh term in 2014, prominent Republicans joined Democrats in praising Carl Levin for his service as Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. senator in history.

Not to rain on that parade of praise, but it also should be noted that state Republicans say they see the open seat their best chance in decades to elect a senator. Names of more than a dozen potential Republican candidates were quickly floated, as well as those of at least a half-dozen Democrats. Some of those mentioned were quick to bow out.

Gov. Rick Snyder, who increasingly demonstrates he is not rigidly political, said lavishly:

“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.”

Ex-Gov. William G. Milliken, Michigan’s longest-serving governor (1969-82), called Levin an effective state champion in Washington.

Attorney Gen. Bill Schuette, a former GOP congressman who got 41 percent of the vote in a 1990 challenge of Levin, hailed Levin’s “distinguished and honorable career.” As for Schuette seeking Levin’s seat, his PR director, John Selleck, discounted it and said: “Bill will continue on serving the citizens of Michigan as their attorney general.”

Among highly speculative names of prospective candidates cited by the Detroit newspapers are former Democratic governors James J. Blanchard and Jennifer Granholm, and ex-Republican Gov. John Engler. They have been mum on the matter,

While a general election Senate contest between ex-governors would be quite a battle, it is far too early to suggest how things will shape up on the 2014 ballot. It’s too early to talk of frontrunners, but names of prospects abound in the press.

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