“I’m appalled,” said Dingell, who represents Michigan’s 6th district and is one of the state’s highest-profile politicians. “She told me months ago that she was running. … I can’t imagine our delegation without her, but today is the day we celebrate her and then we figure it out.

Stabenow’s announcement on Thursday marks the first major retirement ahead of the 2024 cycle, when Senate Democrats will be on the defense in a slate of top swing states. It also kicks off an open primary in a presidential swing state, with Republicans joined by up-and-coming Democratic talents suddenly eyeing a competitive race without a three-termer on the ballot.

“We have a great set of prospects,” Stabenow told POLITICO. “So I’ve been having a lot of conversations as you can imagine with people. I think we have an amazing generation of leaders, I don’t see the same strong team … on the Republican side.

At least the two most prominent Michigan Democrats — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who now split their time between Washington, D.C., and their family home in Traverse City, Michigan. – quickly announced that they were not planning a run. for the seat of Stebeno on Thursday.

Whitmer praised Stabenow’s legacy in a lengthy statement, saying that as governor, she “looked forward to working with him through the end of his term”, as she planned to serve out his full four-year term. After winning re-election last year by more than a 10-point margin.

Buttigieg released a statement of his own, noting that he is “fully focused on serving the President in my role as Secretary of Transportation, and is not looking for another job.” Using the present tense, Buttigieg continued, “We’re working hard to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, grow the economy, and create significant jobs.” Buttigieg has previously turned down opportunities to run for the House and has often described himself as a man with an executive skill set.

Stabenow declined to say whether he had spoken to Buttigieg about the seat. “I look forward to talking to as many people who are interested,” she said. “But, it’s been a pretty busy day for me so far. And I haven’t really had those opportunities yet.

Beyond Whitmer and Buttigieg, the Democratic bench in Michigan is the deepest in the country, with a full slate of statewide elected officials, a large congressional delegation representing swing seats, and an unusually prominent state legislator who shot to viral fame last year. was achieved.

A trio of statewide electeds — Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel — could all be well placed for Senate runs, as well as Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Benson is set to receive the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Joe Biden in Washington, DC on Friday for the role he played in overseeing the 2020 election in his state.

But several Michigan Democrats noted that all those candidates may also be eyeing the governor’s mansion, which won’t reopen until 2026.

State Sen. Mallory McMorrow, who gained national prominence in 2021 for a speech she delivered on the state Senate floor and built an impressive online donor base, has also been floated as a possible candidate., In a statement, McMorrow praised Stabenow but did not mention his own intentions for the race.

“It’s a traffic jam,” said a Michigan Democratic strategist, allowing anonymity to discuss the primary field candidly, “and I don’t think anybody clears the decks.”

Michigan will be a hotbed of political activity before 2024. For the first time in 40 years, Democrats control all the levers of power: the governor’s mansion and both legislative chambers. What he is able to accomplish, including bringing new business and job opportunities to the nation’s oldest — age-wise — states, will have a potentially profound impact on the political landscape.

Republicans are expected to play aggressively in the state as well, not just at the presidential level. The Republican primary to fill Stabenow’s seat could be just as messy as the Democratic one, with several options ranging from former Rep. According to several national GOP operatives, James, who won a congressional seat in 2018 after a failed Senate bid,

Two former gubernatorial candidates may also join the race, according to a national strategist working on Senate campaigns, Perry Johnson, a Detroit-area businessman, and Kevin Reinke, another former gubernatorial candidate and a former auto dealer.

Other prominent Republicans remain in the state, such as Tudor Dixon, who lost his 2022 gubernatorial bid to Whitmer. Help Republicans win in 2024.

Such a potentially huge field could reopen fresh wounds, coming on the heels of a bitter end to Dixon’s campaign in which the Michigan Republican Party co-chairman lambasted Dixon and Republican donors who supported the former president. “Hate” Donald Trump. Board losses in the state

But GOP operatives in the state said they hoped they could avoid a fractious contest to fill Stabenow’s seat. “I don’t see them behaving like [the] Ohio Senate primary,” Michigan-based Republican consultant Jason Caballe Roe said, referring to the 2022 Ohio Senate primary, when the race turns into a battle for Trump’s endorsement.

Sarah Ferris, Marianne Levin, Meredith Lee Hill and Nicholas Wu contributed to this report.

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