Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow's retirement will create fresh challenges for her party heading into the 2024 elections, Breitbart reported. Stabenow announced that she would not seek reelection at the end of her term.
Stabenow had told her Democratic colleagues that she would run again, but her announcement Thursday has sent the party in Michigan reeling. She claimed the decision was partly made to make room for younger lawmakers.
"I’ve had a wonderful career and honor of breaking barriers and being the first woman to reach various historic milestones, but I never felt it was enough to be a first if there wasn’t a second and third and fourth and so on," Stabenow told the Detroit Press. "I think it’s important to know the time and place where you open doors again for others and pass the torch," she added.
"I feel like this is really the right time for me, it’s the right time for Michigan,” Stabenow said. However, her timing couldn't be worse as President Joe Biden will face his reelection just as her last year in office comes to a close.
Democrats were already in a tough position following the 2022 midterms. They lost the House of Representatives and maintained only a razor-thin margin with a 51-49 balance in the Senate, meaning another empty seat in Michigan could make it a tossup.
Moreover, it's a problem for President Joe Biden who eeked out a narrow victory in Michigan in 2020 with only 50.5% of the vote. The president has had abysmal ratings nationally and has hovered around 39% for most of his presidency, Reuters reported.
A strong Democratic candidate in the Great Lake State could make the difference come 2024. Still, some high-profile Democratic choices have already taken themselves out of the running.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who would be eligible as a part-time Michigan resident, has already announced he will not be vying for the spot. Recently reelected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer similarly shut down the rumor mill with her own statement that she will not run for senate.
However, it appears as though Democratic Michigan Reps. Debbie Dingell, Haley Stevens, and Elissa Slotkin would be open to a senate run. Slotkin's name has been bandied about for a while following a contentious reelection bid in the 2022 midterms.
Stevens similarly faced a difficult race the last time around but could make a play for higher office if given the chance. Many others have likely been waiting in the wings for an opportunity that wouldn't involve taking out an incumbent, and this could prove to be just the chance.
While that may be good for the career climbers, it also means Biden will face off in a state without an incumbent senator for an up-ballot boost. However, the bigger threat comes from a situation where the Republican presidential candidate could benefit from the coattails of a strong GOP senate candidate.
According to the Associated Press, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it would "aggressively target this seat in 2024" in a statement following her departure. Although the state legislature has recently returned to Democratic control, Michigan is nevertheless shaping up to be a battleground.
Before the election of former President Donald Trump in 2016, Great Lakes states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan were left-of-center, CNN reported. Trump put them back into play by securing the voting bloc that included whites without college degrees, even if recent elections have favored Democrats.
Stabenow's exit is certainly appropriate for the 72-year-old. However, it has created problems for the Democrats in Michigan and nationally -- the only question is whether the GOP will cash in on it.