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Stabenow announces she will not seek reelection, Slotkin among potential contenders to replace her

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow announced Thursday that she will not seek reelection in 2024, almost immediately setting off speculation about who would succeed her with Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin’s name at the top of the list.

“Inspired by a new generation of leaders, I have decided to pass the torch in the U.S. Senate,” said Stabenow. “I am so grateful for the trust the people of Michigan have placed in me. I am also deeply grateful to my incredible staff, who are the best team in the United States Senate. They continue to set the highest standards for service in Michigan and across our country.”

As for who might seek to run for Stabenow’s seat, one name being mentioned is U.S Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), known for her ability to attract independent voters.

Slotkin now represents Michigan’s new 7th Congressional District, which includes all of Ingham, Clinton, Shiawassee and Livingston Counties, as well as parts of Eaton, Oakland and Genesee Counties.

Slotkin tweeted out a statement of praise for Stabenow, but notably didn’t rule out a run for the seat.

“For almost 50 years, Debbie Stabenow has brought her tireless spirit and passion for Michigan to public service,” said Slotkin. “As the first woman elected to represent our state in the U.S. Senate, she’s been our mentor, our leader, and our trailblazer. And to me personally, she has been a friend, confidante, and invaluable sounding board. I spoke with Debbie this morning to thank her for everything she’s done for Michigan’s farmers, our manufacturers and small business owners, and our children. Her record of accomplishment is simply unmatched, and her voice will [be] sorely missed in the Congress.”

Other potential contenders include state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Waterford Twp.) and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who recently moved to Michigan, although he seemed to indicate he would not be in the running.

“I am fully focused on serving the President in my role as Secretary of Transportation, and not seeking any other job,” he said. “We are hard at work to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, grow the economy, and create good-paying jobs.”

Among Republicans, speculation has focused on Rep.-elect John James (R-Farmington Hills), while former GOP gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley, who is facing charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, said last year he would be interested in challenging Stabenow.

Stabenow added that the decision to step aside had a lot to do with what she saw in 2022.

“Under the cloud of unprecedented threats to our democracy and our basic freedoms, a record-breaking number of people voted last year in Michigan,” she said. “Young people showed up like never before. This was a very hopeful sign for our future.”

Also reacting to the announcement was Judy Daubenmier, Chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party.

“U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow has been one of the hardest-working, smartest senators Michigan has ever had,” said Daubenmier. “For more than two decades, she has fought for Michigan residents all over our state, whether they worked in the auto industry or agriculture, whether they were children or senior citizens or military veterans. She has protected the Great Lakes, fought for our health care and our education, and blazed trails for women ever since she ran for Ingham County Commissioner at the age of 24. She has certainly earned her time off, but we will miss her commitment, her grace under pressure, and her unwavering support for Michigan values.”

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