Levin speaks about retirement

The longest-serving U.S. Senator that Michigan has ever had is speaking out in a little more detail about his decision to retire.

Senator Carl Levin announced on Thursday that he won’t run for re-election next year.

He’s been in the Senate since January 1979.

Levin would have been favored to win a seventh term had he decided to run again.

But he says he and his wife felt he could best serve the state, and the country, for the next two years by doing his job without being distracted by a campaign.

He says he wants to do his job by trying to stop tax avoidance schemes that many corporations use, ending secret contributions to tax-exempt groups to fund political campaigns and protecting Michigan manufacturing.

Levin has not mentioned how much of a factor age played in his decision.

He is 78 years old, so if he ran for another term and won, he’d be 86 by the time it ended.

This leaves an open Michigan U.S. Senate seat for the first time since 1994.

Downstate Congressman Gary Peters and former Governor Jennifer Granholm have been mentioned as possible Democratic candidates.

On the Republican side, Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and Attorney General Bill Schuette have been mentioned.

But Schuette, who challenged Levin in 1990 and lost, said on Facebook last night that he plans to remain in Lansing.