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Senator Debbie Stabenow’s retirement causes ‘political earthquake’

Senator Debbie Stabenow’s retirement causes ‘political earthquake’


US Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke to reporters last month at the US Capitol. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty

Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced yesterday that she will not seek re-election and will retire when her fourth term ends in 2025.

Why it matters: The Democrat’s retirement adds to Michigan’s status as the first battleground state in the 2024 election and gives new candidates a chance to exit both parties.

Stabenow, who has served as a senator for more than two decades, said in a statement that her decision was “inspired by a new generation of leaders.”

What she said: “I think it’s important to know when and where you open the doors again for others and pass the torch on. I feel like it’s a really good time for me, it’s a good time for Michigan,” she told the Detroit News.

WHAT WE WATCH: U.S. Rep. Elisa Slutkin (D-Holly), Rep. Haley Stephens (D-Birmingham), Lt. Garlin Gilchrist and others are already being floated as potential Democratic nominees to replace Stabenow.

Peter Meagher, Tom Barrett, Mike Cox and Lisa McClain are seen as viable options for Republicans.

The plot: Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Mayor Mike Duggan have already shot down the possibility of running for office.

“Senator Stabenow has done an amazing job for this state and I congratulate her for coming out on her own terms,” ​​Duggan said yesterday. “I made a promise to the people of Detroit in 2021 that if I am re-elected, I will serve my full four years — the promise I made to Detroit is strict, there are no circumstances under which I will run for Senate.”

What they’re saying: Stabenow’s retirement triggered a “political earthquake” that “probably generated a thousand meetings already,” Republican strategist John Selleck told Axios.

“There’s no reason to think the GOP primary won’t look like last year,” Selleck says, adding that while the Democratic primaries also have the potential to be messy, steady leadership starting with the governor puts them in a better position to deliver the winning candidate.

The big picture: The GOP had hoped Michigan would become a magnet for showcasing its successes with blue-collar voters after former President Trump’s stunning 2016 victory. But since then, Republicans have suffered repeated setbacks — culminating in Gov. Whitmer’s landslide victory last year.

Stabenow had defeated some of the GOP’s top talent — Spence Abraham in 2000, Mike Bouchard in 2006, John James in 2018 — but Republicans now have a new opportunity.




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