SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – The announcement from Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin that he will not seek re-election in 2014 has sparked reaction from several leaders around the state.

After news of Levin’s pending retirement, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Levin is an incredible colleague who will be missed.

In a statement, Stabenow said, “Words cannot describe the value of Carl Levin’s service to our state and to our country. Carl is respected by our colleagues in both parties because he has always been more concerned with getting the right answer and doing the right thing, rather than earning accolades for himself or engaging in partisan fights. His honor and his integrity are absolutely unmatched. The more people we have like Carl Levin serving in public office, the better off our country will be.”

Stabenow added, however, “…before he can be missed, we still have two more years to work together for Michigan. I look forward to continuing to fight side-by-side with him on behalf of the people of Michigan, just as he has always done throughout his remarkable career.”

Meantime, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak released the following statement regarding Levin’s retirement:

“Michigan families are frustrated due to the lack of leadership and failed policies put forth by the U.S. Senate perhaps the most egregious example is the failure by the Democratic-led Senate to pass a budget for nearly four years. The status-quo is not acceptable and Republicans will offer bold and aggressive leadership that will restore common sense principles to Washington.

Michigan Republicans have a lot of strong potential candidates and we are more than ready to have a real conversation with Michigan families why Republican leadership is necessary to fix Washington. Republicans understand the importance of a budget and using common sense conservative principles that put Michigan families and workers first.”

Levin’s retirement creates an open seat for Democrats here in Michigan where Republicans have fared well in recent elections.

“This will be the first time in 20 years that we’ve had an open seat. That means everybody that has lusted to run for the U.S. Senate but couldn’t because of Carl Levin being there, now has an opportunity of a lifeline. The list will be long on both [the Democratic and Republican] sides with Levin getting out. The question is, who will be getting in,” says WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.

Former Chairman of the Michigan GOP, Saul Anuzis, believes there may be several Republicans eyeing the position.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for Michigan to get some fresh blood in the United States Senate. And I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for Republicans to win an additional seat in the United States Senate. So I think this is going to open up the political landscape in Michigan, and I suspect we’ll see some very strong candidates emerging over the next few months,” says Anuzis.

As for some Republican names thrown around for Levin’s seat, Anuzis says, “The name I hear the most is Attorney General Bill Schuette, who would be a very strong candidate. You know, he’s somebody who served in Congress before and was a state Senator, now is obviously our Attorney General. I know some people have talked about Clark Durant running again for the U.S. Senate, some talked about Congressman Justin Amash.”

But Anuzis says, in some ways, Levin’s departure is a loss for the state.

“Senator Levin, whether you agree or disagree with him, has served the state well. He’s been a big advocate for Michigan as a whole. I think that he’s done what he thinks is in the best interest. You know, there’s a lot of things I disagreed with him with. But you never question the man’s integrity and you never question his commitment to the state of Michigan,” says Anuzis.

Levin was first elected to the Senate in 1978, after serving on the Detroit City Council, and is the longest-serving senator in Michigan’s history.

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