Updated Jan 5, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Democratic Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow to retire

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) speaks to the media during the weekly Senate Democrat Leadership press conference

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) speaks to the media. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) announced Thursday that she won't 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 a premier 2024 election battleground state.

Details: Stabenow said in a statement Thursday that she will leave Congress when her term ends on Jan. 3, 2025.

  • The Michigan Democrat said her decision was "inspired by a new generation of leaders."
  • She said she intends to start “a new chapter in my life” after retirement, which includes serving the state and being "active and engaged in the community."
  • Stabenow first told Detroit News about her retirement.

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

  • “I am so grateful for the trust the people of Michigan have placed in me," she said in a statement.
  • Stabenow's office did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Thursday that Stabenow has helped deliver "one of the most productive sessions of Congress in a century."

  • "Debbie is a great senator, a great friend, a great ally, and a great Michigander," Schumer said.
  • Schumer said he is "confident Democrats will retain the seat."

The big picture: Republicans hoped Michigan would be a hook for showcasing their inroads with blue-collar voters after former President Trump’s stunning victory in the state in 2016. But since then, Republicans have suffered repeated setbacks — capped by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s landslide win last year.

  • Far-right candidates have squelched numerous GOP efforts to make inroads in the state.

Context: Stabenow has been a political dynamo, beating some of the GOP’s top in-state talent (Spence Abraham in 2000; Mike Bouchard in 2006; John James in 2018).

  • With an open seat and the prospect of Democratic infighting, Republicans have a renewed shot in a state that has long given them fits.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details and background.

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