Traverse City Record-Eagle

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August 4, 2013

George Weeks: Dave Camp considers Senate race

Two of the most influential congressmen on Capitol Hill have been in the media mix for the 2014 Republican nomination to run for the open seat of retiring Democrat Carl Levin, Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. senator.

One declined. The other, as of this writing, was pondering.

Seven-term 8th District Rep. Mike Rogers of Howell, who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has been on the national stage as a key player on a variety of security and foreign policy issues highlighted by Sunday closing of 21 U.S embassies and a worldwide travel alert over concern of terrorist threats, had considerable media hype for the run but declined.

Rogers, a former FBI agent and state senator, said: “I would have to unplug between now and election … and that wouldn’t have been fair to the committee. Given everything that’s going on in the world, I just felt it really important to focus on what I know I was having an impact on.”

Twelve-term 4th District Rep. Dave Camp of Midland, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and leader with Sen. Baucus, D-Mont., his Senate counterpart, in an effort to simplify and otherwise improve the tax code, also had long signaled a reluctance for the 2014 Senate race as he had for earlier ones.

But last week, Camp, who already has a sizable war chest, told Politico (in a quote confirmed by his office to both Detroit dailies as an indication of where he is regarding the race): “It’s a big decision, and I’m going to look at it carefully and thoughtfully.”

Camp’s dipping of toes in the water surprised me. But while the security/foreign issues that Rogers’s committee is dealing with will linger into 2014 and beyond, the more immediate tax reform issue facing Camp/Baucus could come to a head late this year when Congress returns in September from its recess.

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