Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of 2014.
The chairman of the Armed Services Committee, first elected in 1978, is the longest-serving senator in Michigan history and will turn 80 before Election Day next year.
In a statement, Levin said the decision not to seek another term was â€œextremely difficult.â€
â€œI love representing the people of Michigan in the U.S. Senate and fighting for the things that I believe are important to them,â€ he said. â€œAs 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. 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.â€
Levin would have been heavily favored to win another term heading into 2014. The six-term senator has not faced a tough contest in almost three decades: He has won with at least 57 percent of the vote since his first re-election in 1984.
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