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

Michigan Senator says he will focus on his job without 'distraction' of campaigning

DETROIT - Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election in 2014.

He released the following statement:

"I have decided not to run for re-election in 2014. 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.

"As Barbara and I struggled with the question of whether I should run again, we focused on our belief that our country is at a crossroads that will determine our economic health and security for decades to come. We decided that I can best serve my state and nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us that I am in a position to help address; in other words, by doing my job without the distraction of campaigning for re-election."

Levin was first elected to the Senate in 1978 and is the longest-serving senator in Michigan's history. The 78-year-old's retirement creates an open seat for Democrats in a state where Republicans have fared well in recent state elections. Democrats have to defend open seats in West Virginia, Iowa and New Jersey in the aftermath of three retirements.

President Barack Obama says no one has worked harder to bring manufacturing jobs back to America. He released this statement:

"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. 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. As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator 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. Michelle and I wish Carl, Barbara and their family all the best, and I look forward to working with Carl over the next two years as we continue tackling some of our nation's toughest challenges."

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak issued 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."

Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said he commends Levin for his distinguished service to the state and the nation.

"For more than 30 years, Carl Levin has been a thoughtful, compassionate voice in Washington," Snyder said in a statement released Thursday night. "He effectively brought the needs and concerns of Michiganders to the halls of the Capitol. His service on behalf of Michigan and America is commendable. On behalf of our entire state, I applaud Sen. Levin for his dedication and wish him a healthy, fulfilling retirement."

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.