Sen. Carl Levin leaves legacy, speculation on who will fill seat

Michigan Senator served since 1970s, empty seat expected to be hotly contested


DETROIT – U.S. Democratic Senator Carl Levin's decision not to seek re-election in 2014 will make the Michigan Senate race one to watch.

Levin will leave behind a long and rich legacy. Speculation already is building about who is going to make a run for his seat.

Read more: Sen. Carl Levin will not run for re-election in 2014

"It's a very exclusive club," said Democratic political consultant Joe Disano. "There's only 100 members at a time."

Disano says the clear front-runner on the Democratic side right now is Congressman Gary Peters.

"(Peters) is the obvious strongest candidate. I think in the days ahead you'll see other people floating trial balloons," Disano said.

For the Michigan Republican party there is not better time than now to try to gain hold of a seat that been Democratically controlled for 30-plus years.

"We have some elected officials that have been very successful both around the state that could be looking at it," said Michigan Republican party Chairman Bobby Schostak. "It wouldn't surprise me, or a business person, male or female, that might appear."

Schostak won't give out names but sources say to expect Congressman Justin Amash, of Grand Rapids, to throw his name in the ring.

Congressman Mike Rogers, of Livingston County, could be a contenders, too. So could Congressman Dave Camp, of Midland. There also have been rumblings about Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette running for Levin's seat.

"I think we're going to hear a lot of things in the coming days that will be very interesting," said Schostak.

Many have lost congressional race to Levin since 1970s

Since the 1970s, there has been no shame in losing a congressional race to Sen. Levin. However, the list of opponents he has defeated is an interesting one:

-- 1978: Robert P. Griffin
-- 1984: Jack R. Lousma, former NASA astronaut
-- 1990: Bill Schuette, current Michigan Attorney General
-- 1996: Ronna Romney
-- 2002: Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski
-- 2008: Jack Hoogendyk -- a race Levin won by nearly 30 points