Michigan Sen. Carl Levin has announced he will not seek re-election in 2014. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, D, a mainstay of the upper chamber since 1979, will not seek re-election next fall, he said Thursday.
Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced in a statement that he would not seek a seventh term in 2014. Levin is currently 78-years-old.
"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," he said. "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."
Levin was the fifth-most-senior Democrat remaining in the Senate, a legislative body that's undergone tremendous turnover in recent years following the deaths and retirements of some of its most senior members.
Late Thursday President Barack Obama thanked Levin in a statement, praising his work on behalf of the blue-collar workers he represented not only in the Wolverine State, but throughout the country.
"If you've ever worn the uniform, worked a shift on an assembly line, or sacrificed to make ends meet, then you've had a voice and a vote in Senator Carl Levin," read the statement. "No one has worked harder to bring manufacturing jobs back to our shores, close unfair tax loopholes, and ensure that everyone plays by the same set of rules."
Democrats are regarded as having an advantage in holding onto Levin's seat, since Michigan is a state that has tended toward Democrats in statewide and national elections in recent cycles. Moreover, Republicans' bench in the state is regarded as relatively thin.
Levin's older brother, Sander, is a high-ranking congressman from Michigan.