Democratic Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow to retire
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.