Sen. Levin won't seek re-election in 2014
March 7th, 2013
05:40 PM ET
10 years ago

Sen. Levin won't seek re-election in 2014

Washington (CNN) – Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, 78, announced Thursday that he will not run for a seventh term in 2014.

Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called it an "extremely difficult" decision and stated that he'll better serve his Michigan constituents in the next two years of his term by not being distracted by a campaign.

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"This decision was extremely difficult because I love representing the people of Michigan in the U.S. Senate and fighting for the things that I believe are important to them," he said in a statement.

During the remainder of his time in Washington, Levin said he plans to focus on his continued push for stricter rules against tax avoidance, saying tax loopholes that allow off-shore accounts are "a major drain on our treasury." He also wants to fight to boost manufacturing and address what he sees as serious flaws in campaign finance laws.

Further, Levin expressed concern about the government's fiscal problems on the military and showed a strong desire to ensure a "rapid transfer of responsibility for Afghan security to the Afghans."

"These issues will have an enormous impact on the people of Michigan and the nation for years to come, and we need to confront them," he continued. "I can think of no better way to spend the next two years than to devote all of my energy and attention to taking on these challenges."

In a statement, President Barack Obama said 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."

"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," he said. "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."

First elected in 1978, Levin is the longest-serving U.S. senator in Michigan's history. Before joining the Senate, Levin worked as a public defender in Detroit, where he grew up, and was elected to the Detroit City Council in 1969.

His older brother, Sander Levin, serves in the U.S. House of Representatives as the top Democrat on the House tax writing committee. The older Levin still plans to run for re-election next year, according to his spokesman.

Sen. Michael Bennet, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Levin has been a "model public servant" for more than three decades.

"I'm particularly thankful for his leadership on behalf of our men and women in uniform," he said in a statement. "I am confident that we will recruit a great Democratic leader who will continue to fight for the values and priorities Senator Levin advocated for all these years. We fully expect to keep Michigan blue in November 2014."

Levin has won most of his elections by a wide margin, including his re-election bid in 2008 when he won with 63% of the vote.

He's now the fourth Democratic senator to announce that he'll step down after the next term. Fellow Democratic senators Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey all announced they would retire from the Senate instead of making bids for re-election next year.

Other Democratic senators who may possibly retire include Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Dick Durbin of Illinois.

On the Republican side, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Mike Johanns of Nebraska also decided against a run.

At this point, Democrats will be defending 21 of the 35 Senate seats up for election in 2014. They currently have an advantage with 55 seats in the Senate (including two independents who caucus with them) to Republicans' 45 seats.

- CNN's Ashley Killough, Paul Steinhauser, Ted Barrett, Adam Levine, and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2014 • Carl Levin • Michigan • Senate
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Get Real

    No big loss, ONE of MANY that need to go. 1 down 536 left.

    March 7, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Martha in CF

    Can you blame him for not running again? He must be awfully tired now and sick of the bs as well.

    March 7, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. joseph barbknecht

    Such good news! Now if Comradres Schuman, Feinstein Boxer and several others with agenda's that are not at all good for America would join him we could all shout let freedom ring

    March 7, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. Martha Logsdon

    Senator Levin has been the model for what a good Senator should be. His retirement will be a blow to the integrity of the Senate. He is one I hate to see leave.

    March 7, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Unfortunately, he may be remembered as the guy who fought to keep alive the silent filibuster. Thanks, Senator Levin. Not!

    March 7, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. rtk25301

    Unfortunately, he may be remembered as the guy who fought in January 2013 to keep alive the silent filibuster, killing progress on many fronts.

    March 7, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  7. Chooch0253

    @Get Real.. Your posting is what is no big loss. It clearly shows you know nothing about the man or the Senate. There are only 100 Senators genius.

    March 7, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  8. Jerry Lemieux

    A decision that is 35 years overdue.

    March 7, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  9. steve

    thang God!

    March 7, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. smithdp

    Sad, imagine if the "Obstruct the Recovery at any cost" Republicans take control of the Senate. The have wreaked enough havoc on the economy just controlling the House.

    March 7, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  11. Anderson

    I get a kick out of these older people saying they are going to work their butts off,, yuk-yuk do 5 minutes of work a week and say that. They only know Govt. jobs with hardly any real work jobs.What do they have? 100 people working for them in congress? No wonder we are bankrupt.

    March 7, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. theapatriot


    March 7, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  13. Ursula

    I need to quit reading any responses posted to these kinds of articles. What happened to any kind of civil discourse? Senator Carl Levin has done an outstanding job over the course of his career. Poster "Get Real" is probably ready to storm the capitol with a lit torch and a pitchfork. That's not democracy, "Get Real". Democracy is the ballot box. VOTE. I do.

    March 7, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Senator Levin's knowledge, intelligence and reasonable approach on issues will surely be missed.

    March 7, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. Keef

    I'd be happier to see that fossilized TURTLE Mitch McConnell go.

    Or maybe we can at least get an appropriation to get him some LIPS!

    Quoting Chicago columnist Mike Royko, when George Bush (I) ran for President:

    "How can you trust a man who has no LIPS?"

    March 7, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. organically

    One of the all time great senators who must be honored by all Americans

    March 7, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. ally buster

    I grew up in Michigan, and I have to say that this man is a soldier for the middle class, and while I hate to see him leave....I have to wish him a happy retirement.

    March 7, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  18. sqeptiq

    Get Real: 536? who are you counting?

    March 7, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  19. t

    ............How can Michigan vote for this smart, honest, man that is committed to doing right for the PEOPLE of Michigan.....................and these same people voted for that WEASEL for Gov.?

    March 7, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  20. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    Wow,I thought he was already gone.Its funny how easy it is to forget people when they are not doing anything,and getting paid for it

    March 8, 2013 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  21. ronvan

    Get Real: Agree totally! 78yrs. old! Should be an age limit put into law.

    March 8, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |