LANSING (AP) — U.S. Sen. Carl Levin’s decision not to seek another term gives Michigan Republicans the chance to prove they can win a Senate election, while Democrats are left scrambling to keep a seat that has not been closely contested since the Detroit Tigers last won the World Series in 1984.
Levin’s announcement is expected to spark a frenzy of interest from candidates and parties. The outcome of the 2014 race will play a role in Michigan’s clout in Congress, the battle for control of the 100-member Senate and possibly even Gov. Rick Snyder’s re-election prospects.
“This offers the opportunity for a huge field,” said Lansing-based political analyst Bill Ballenger.
Much of the early focus is on the state’s congressional delegation, where at least five members are considered possible candidates to move to the upper chamber. GOP Reps. Justin Amash, Dave Camp and Mike Rogers are being mentioned as well as Democrats Gary Peters and Dan Kildee.
Peters, who represents the bellwether county north of Detroit, told The Associated Press Friday that is he is “very interested” in running for Senate.
“It is absolutely critical that Democrats hold this seat,” he said, calling himself a battle-tested campaigner who has won three difficult races. “People don’t win statewide without winning Oakland County, and that’s my political base.”
The three-term congressman said he would make a decision within weeks after talking with his family.