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Posted on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 5:20 p.m.

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin won't seek re-election next year

By Staff


enate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., left, talks with the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 12 at the start of a hearing on cuts to the defense budget.

AP photo

Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan announced Thursday he will not seek re-election next year.

In a statement, Levin said he decided he could best serve Michigan and the country this year and next by concentrating on important issues rather than 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 lawmaker said the decision was "extremely difficult." He said he loves representing the people of Michigan and fighting for what he believes is important for them.

Levin'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.

Levin said he wants to focus on working to end tax avoidance schemes, fostering a manufacturing renaissance, ensuring military readiness in the face of fiscal pressure and ending what he called "the flood of hundreds of millions of secret dollars flowing into our elections."

Read Levin's statement below:

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.

Here are some of those issues. Years of bipartisan work by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that I chair have shed light on tax avoidance schemes that are a major drain on our treasury. The huge loss of corporate tax receipts caused by the shift of U.S. corporate tax revenue to offshore tax havens is but one example of the egregious tax loopholes that we must end. Thirty of our most profitable companies paid no taxes over a recent three year period although they had over $150 billion in profits.


Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., left, accompanied by committee member Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., second from left, greets Marine Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command, center, and Navy Adm. William McRaven, commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday prior to the start of the committee's hearing to review the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2014 and the Future Years Defense Program. Levin announced he will not seek re-election Thursday.

AP photo

Tax avoidance schemes that have no economic justification or purpose other than to avoid paying taxes may be legal but they should not be. These schemes add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit. They lead to cuts in education, research, national security, law enforcement, infrastructure, food safety and other important investments in our nation. And they add to the tax burden of ordinary Americans who have to pick up the slack and accelerate the economic inequality in our country. I want to fight to bring an end to this unjustified drain on the Treasury.

Second, I want to ensure that the manufacturing renaissance that has led Michigan’s economic comeback continues. We’ve made progress in building the partnerships we need to help U.S. manufacturers succeed, but the next two years will be crucial to sustaining and building on that progress.

A third item I want to tackle is a growing blight on our political system that I believe I can help address: the use of secret money to fund political campaigns. Our tax laws are supposed to prevent secret contributions to tax exempt organizations for political purposes. My Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations needs to look into the failure of the IRS to enforce our tax laws and stem the flood of hundreds of millions of secret dollars flowing into our elections, eroding public confidence in our democracy.

Finally, the next two years will also be important in dealing with fiscal pressures on our military readiness. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am determined to do all I can to address that issue. I also believe we need to pursue the rapid transfer of responsibility for Afghan security to the Afghans. And, as our troops come home, we must do a better job of caring for those who bear both the visible and invisible wounds of war.

These issues will have an enormous impact on the people of Michigan and the nation for years to come, and we need to confront them. I can think of no better way to spend the next two years than to devote all of my energy and attention to taking on these challenges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

What was the Senator's signature legislative accomplishment?


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:45 a.m.

Lets go over some of Senator Levin's recient accomplishments. Debt in 1993 was $4.1 trillion, how $16,6 trillion and climbing. Federal law states Senate must pass a budget every year, Senator Levin & Senate did not pass a budget in 2010. 2011, 2012 2013 and not yet for 2014. But he did vote for tax breaks for GE, Nascar and my friend Jack Daniels, at the same time he voted to raise taxes on some individuals. Michigan was a doner state the wholetime he was a senator, including the 4 years when Mi had the highest unemployement in nation. So why was he so great?

David Cahill

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:07 p.m.

I think Debbie Dingell and Mark Schauer will lead the large pack of candidates. Clang! They're off!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.

Carl Levin has been an exemplary statesman. He has been at the center of power for a long time and has yet always been about serving the people of Michigan and the US well. He hasn't drawn attention to himself and has gotten the job done time after time. This is the kind of leadership in government that is sorely missed. Bravo Senator. You have run the entire race well! And you go for it these last two years!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

I must openly acknowledge the fact that had deleted my comment within a few seconds after I posted it. I remain hopeful that there will be transparency, and accountability in democratic governance even when the commenting guidelines do not demand such transparency and accountability.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

Thanks for posting my comment. I would be totally surprised if there is any response from the Senator or his staff who may read this post. I would be equally surprised if any Indian, American, or Tibetan responds to the post. The US foreign policy is shrouded in secrecy and I am not sure as to who is the true beneficiary of the lack of transparency and accountability in democratic governance.

Cole Bertsos

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

BhavanaJagat - Must have been a mistake. I've unblocked it. Sorry about that!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 6 p.m.

Transparency and Accountability in Democratic Governance: I really wonder if Senator Carl Levin would pay any attention to the comments that we share on this page. I wrote to him about health care policy during 1986, and I received a very polite response( apparently drafted by his staff) which gave details of the Senator's policy without directly or indirectly responding to the question that I had asked. I am on his mailing list and the Senator has always encouraged people to write to him and share concerns. But, I am not really hopeful that I would ever get a response that answers the question that is asked. I am glad to read that Senator Levin would spend the last year of his service to serve us better as the saying goes, "Better be late than never." Could I respectfully ask him to tell us the truth about US - China relationship. Are we not entitled to a transparent foreign policy? The era of Cold War must be buried. We don't need covert operations to defend the vital, national interests. Military operations, and preparedness may demand some operational security. But, we can't afford a foreign policy which is not transparent, and which is not accountable to the people. Can I ask Senator Carl Levin to openly express his support for the military alliance/pact between the US, India, and Tibet to fight the military threat posed by China? Does he have the courage, and honesty to admit the fact that a military establishment called Establishment Number. 22/Special Frontier Force indeed exists to combat China? I am posting this comment on behalf of "The Spirits of Special Frontier Force", the young Tibetan men who gave their lives rendering military service to the People of the United States of America.

harry b

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 3:33 p.m.

My favorite Carl Levin moment is when he joined Nancy Pelosi in support of the Health Care Bill without even reading it. As Pelosi said "We need to pass this thing so we can find out whats in it. Quality leadership at its best.

harry b

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

Here is pelosi statement explaining what she meant. Lets go beyond that even though her response is comical. The bill was not released when Levin publicly stated he was infavor of the bill. He along with the entire congress who passed this bill with reading all 2600 pages. Do this not shock and repulse you. WAKE UP.

David Paris

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:41 a.m.

Out-of-context much?

Ivor Ivorsen

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

I must say that I find many of the comments above to be very reassuring. I think we can safely expect the Republican Party (read: Koch Brothers) to nominate another fringe candidate who will take extreme positions on immigration, marriage equality, reproductive rights, equal pay, background checks--you name it--that will make them ultimately unelectable. Keep up the great work Tea Party guys!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

I say essentially the same thing in my post - got 4 thumbs down. You say it and get 4 thumbs-up. :-) What you and I both say about the Republicans is true (it's also what I've been saying since 2000). I guess some people just didn't like it that I implied the Dems have their own problems. Real Politicks is not everyone's favorite thing, I've always suspected those people prefer Unreal Politicks.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

Thank you. The damage you've done to the country will now stop. Hopefully we can elect someone more interested in the country than the unions that poured millions into his campaign.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now let's get to work and get someone elected that supports the 2nd Amendment!

David Paris

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:38 a.m.

Yes- We need our assault rifles to shoot down them Drone's that are laser-tagged on our back-sides!

Ivor Ivorsen

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

Sean Hannity told me that Friends of Hamas is working with ACORN in black helicopters to seize our guns.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Settle one is coming to take your guns. Now get back to your doomsday shelter!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

In the last 5 years, how many guns have the feds taken from your home or person? Which well regulated militia do you belong to? The 2nd is pretty clear, right there in the first part of the sentence...


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

Evin has been a good Senator for Michigan. He has remained free of any serious corruption taint, brought the bacon home and been an advocate for Michigan. He is a good Family Man (Family Values used to be a Core Value), devout in his religious beliefs (another former Core Value) while not attempting to force those beliefs into legislation and a firm supporter of the right of women to live their lives on their terms without government interference in the doctors office (another former Core Value) I think his major flaw in the recent past was his inability to hold the Bush administration accountable for the squandering of taxpayer money in Iraq, as head of the Armed Services Committee. If only clearer heads had prevailed and more Senators had voted against the Iraq "war" like Levin did, we would have $800,000,000,000 not borrowed and thousands upon thousands of people would still be alive. But, I understand that he was facing a tide of Nationalism that brooked no common sense or reflection. Hard to go up against a propaganda machine that convinces the public that a mushroom cloud was imminent when nothing existed to make that cloud.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

I quoted nothing, I posted images of how your money was spent. The Big Picture: Ronald Reagan borrowed, Bush I borrowed, Clinton borrowed, Bush II borrowed. When the GOP had all 3, WH, Senate and The House, they borrowed. Yes, I can compare and contrast the borrowing and spending. If you supported the "war" in Iraq, the borrowing of hundreds of billions to spend it over there with almost zero oversight, then I don't think you should complain about spending money in the USA to rebuild our infrastructure and keep employing cops, teachers and prison guards HERE. I-94 would NOT have been repaved in 2010-11 if the federal money was not available. (note Gov Snyder wants to RAISE taxes to rebuild our roads). If you supported cost-plus contracting to politically connected companies then you don't get to complain about "crony capitalism". If you supported the handing out of PALLETS of cash in Iraq, then forgive me if I have little sympathy for you about the stimulus package that created or saved over a million jobs in the USA. If you supported the boondogle that was the Laura Bush Childrens Hospital (government run, over budget, years behind schedule) then forgive me if support the ACA that seeks to get Americans into good health care. What did I get for the 800 billion spent in Iraq? Am I safer from wmd's? Am I safer from Saddams connections to Al Qaida? Is the military better off now than it was in 2002? Is Iraq a stable democracy with a thriving economy that is paying back any debt to the USA? Is it a bastion of freedom? Is the ME more stable now? But, we digress. Levin was a good Senator for MI. The People spoke, many times, and they appeared to have liked the job he did.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

You are apparently to party line centric to be able to see the big picture. The current administration has wasted far more money than the previous. Paving projects have been going on in Michigan for the 42 years that I have been living here. I am not trying to justify the money spent at war, however you cannot complain what the right hand did while ignoring what the left hand is doing. And quoting articles from biased organizations will not help your cause.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

Lets do a quick comparison: Levin supported the "stimulus package", which borrowed billions of dollars from our future. Have you driven down I-94 lately? The portion I use has been re-paved using stimulus money, it's pretty nice. Millions of that money found it's way into Washtenaw County, it was used to finance research and real time work by public and private entities. Here is your tax money at work in Iraq:


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Johnm, do you mean that money that was pent mostly at home? Horrible use of taxpayer money, horrible!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

What about the 7,000,000,000,000.00 that he WAS OK with spending in the last 5 years?


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

I heard that he has already been seen at The Villages picking out his new house, golf cart and dancing shoes. Once he adds his final votes for taxes, taxes and taxes, he will skip town and watch our country continue to slip towards bankruptcy from his new home at The Villages.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

I guess it's just a good thing that when the GOP had all three branches they saved us from more debt !


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

RE: " I can think of no better way to spend the next two years than to devote all of my energy and attention to taking on these challenges." -- by which we can safely infer he means the U.S. Senate is not the place to 'take on these challenges.' Or - he may be just finding a way out of the election debacle the Democrats may be facing in the next election (or two, or three). The voters will decide. In that regard, we must also consider what kind of candidates the Republicans have put up against Levin and his Democrat Senate Colleague, Stabenow. It's kinda like the Republicans have only hamburger teddy bears to throw into the tiger's cage. They've been so bad, they make even Stabenow look good.

Brenda Byrne

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

Why would you remove my comment about NDAA? I consider the fact that Levin wrote it to be a great di-service to the American people.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Actually Brenda, it would be because you posted in all-caps. Feel free to resubmit but show some love to those lower case letters. :)


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Because they can!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 4:42 a.m.

I find it strange the same day Taco Bell came out with its new cool ranch taco, Sen. Levin decided to retire. Too much of a coincidence for me. #absurdconspiracies


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 3:38 a.m.

A third item I want to tackle is a growing blight on our political system that I believe I can help address: the use of secret money to fund political campaigns. Our tax laws are supposed to prevent secret contributions to tax exempt organizations for political purposes. ********* Good luck to anyone tackling this terrible situation. After the Citizens United decision by the US Supreme Court, we are all doomed to a corrupt political election system funded by plutocrats with one agenda: fatten their wallets at the expense of everyone else while they fly around the world in their fleets of private jets.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 3:25 a.m.

Gotta love the photo of Levin and Inhofe, especially their neckties, which are surely not reflective of their political affiliations.....


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

Gotta love shallow people who comment on pictures and not on the substance of the actual story

Jonathan Blutarsky

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:19 a.m.

I hope we see a nice young progressive liberal get elected 'cause that's what this country needs.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:02 a.m.

Thanks to the senator. Now I hope Jennifer Granholm runs in 2014!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 3:26 a.m.

Granholm comes across as an airhead. Did you see her at the Democratic National Convention last summer? Some were speculating that she had been drinking before her speech on national TV. I think it best she sticks to the radio as a future career.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:16 a.m.

The Michigan GOP would have the same hope.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 1:36 a.m.

this is a good example for why we need term limits the money has corrupted him.

Ivor Ivorsen

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

"this is a good example for why we need term limits..." Translation: I don't want this very popular and capable man to run again for re-election.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Corrupted him and many more that are in office - it blows my mind how they all become extremely wealthy while holding a public office - life is good if you are in politics.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Mr Levin is not "corrupt" as you want to claim, no proof...just FAUX Noise


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

Examples, please.

Silent Majority

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 3:14 a.m.

Carl Levin is in no way shape or form corrupt. If you disagree with his politics fine, but don't slander him. He is a model of integrity. It shows ignorance to suggest anything else.

Colorado Sun

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 1:33 a.m.

This man spent his entire career advocating for the disadvantaged. I remember in the 1960s he had a modest law practice as a public defender in Detroit. Over the decades he spent as a United States Senator since his election in 1978 he and his staff had a profound impact on the lives of many, many constituents. I cannot say enough about his commitment to people of the State of Michigan and the welfare of all Americans.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 1:27 a.m.

Thanks Senator. Long live Levin's Permanant Subcommittee on Investtigattions. Let's see now- Ted Nugent - he would be the fastest gun in D.C. since Cheney rode off. John Hieftje - If no more federal bacon there might be some tofu hamhocks left for A2. We'd have to get another mayor, though. Hmmm. Tom Monaghan - oops. That's the other election. Lindsay Lohan - Well, everyone in the world will know about our state. Save us some money on those Pure Michigan ads. The Smart Car driver - just has to wave at the public. The rest of the machine there is automated.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:09 a.m.

What'chu talkin bout, Willis?


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

Thank God!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

Your fictitious being in the sky has nothing to do with this.

David Paris

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

Senator Levin is a Model of Integrity and will surely be missed. His shoes will likely never be filled!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:30 a.m.

Now if John Dingell would only step down!!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 4:39 a.m.

It is, properly, up to the voters to decide. And they speak repeatedly and consistently on the matter....


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 3:27 a.m.

Exactly, before they need to carry him out on a stretcher......he needs to retire.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:28 a.m.

3 words ... Term Limits Needed.

Ivor Ivorsen

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

We have these things called elections. Don't like the current senator or representative? Work hard and see that another man or woman is elected. Senator Levin was re-elected with very substantial margins--he was, and is still, very popular with the people of Michigan. Sorry that is hard for you to accept.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:20 a.m.

Good riddance to this lefty lib.

Vivienne Armentrout

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

I have enormous respect for him. It is our loss as a nation.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:09 a.m.

We need to thank this man for his great public service and wish him well in achieving has goals in the next two years. He is a man who truly works for the benefit of all of Michigan's citizens as well as all Americans.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

The retirement of Senator Carl Levin will be a loss to the U.S. Senate and to the people of Michigan he represented. He has served us well. I wish him a happy and healthy retirement. I'd love to see Rep. Peters run for the U.S. Senate and succeed Senator Levin. It's likely other potential candidate will emerge. In my opinion, Rep. Peters has what it takes to be a great U.S. Senator. Can he win a statewide electiion?

In doubt

Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 11:58 p.m.



Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 11:58 p.m.

Wishing him luck and thoroughness on his first goal. As outlined in last week's detailed report on tax avoidance by the Economist magazine, he can start asking questions about a small state that's home to 945,000 corporations and about an equal number of residents. That would be Delaware. He could call Uncle Joe as his first witness, probably save staff money and time on those trips to Switzerland and the Caymans.


Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 11:34 p.m.

Regardless of your political leanings you have to admit that Carl Levin was a man of integrity and a boon to our state.

Ed Kimball

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

@notyou: You're right, you don't. It's a free country and one of our most exercised freedoms is the freedom to show ignorance.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 7:26 a.m.

No I don't...


Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 11:08 p.m.

"The Associated Press contributed to this report" That's like saying Einstein contributed to the theory of relativity. Copy + paste: does not equal journalism

Morty Seinfeld

Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 11:04 p.m.

Now if we could only get rid of that clueless bobblehead Stabenow.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

Run for the office, let's see how you do. There is an awful lot of Whining about our Senators, but The People have elected them time and time again. If I understand the Tea Parties pseudo platform it is "Listen to The People". I guess it is a situational platform.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

Levin was born in 1934, Stabenow in 1950: so of the two, Levin is the one we might consider to have made a rational retirement decision. But, having gotten a number of Stabenow's pre-digested form letters in response to serious issues, I'd say that "bobblehead" is a reasonable description. Looking at her past election "victories" list, one can't help but notice her opponents in each one were less than stellar. Lets hope the Republicans up their game by two notches: Stabenow will be gone, gone, gone.