Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced her retirement from the U.S. Senate in a statement Thursday, the Daily Caller reported. The Michigan Democrat will not seek re-election when her term ends in two years, which creates a challenge for her party.
“Inspired by a new generation of leaders, I have decided to pass the torch in the U.S. Senate," Stabenow said in her statement. "I am announcing today that I will not seek re-election and will leave the U.S. Senate at the end of my term on January 3, 2025," she added.
"As part of my own new generation, I was elected to the Ingham County Commission in 1974 at the age of 24," Stabenow continued. "As the youngest and first woman to chair the Board, this began years of breaking barriers, blazing trails, and being the ‘first’ woman to reach historic milestones as an elected official, including the honor of being the first woman from Michigan elected to the U.S. Senate," she said.
"But I have always believed it’s not enough to be the ‘first’ unless there is a ‘second’ and a ‘third’….," Stabenow added. She went on to champion the other trends of women in politics during her career.
Because Stabenow has served in the U.S. Senate since 2001, she knew enough to tow the party line even in her exit. "Under the cloud of unprecedented threats to our democracy and our basic freedoms, a record-breaking number of people voted last year in Michigan," she claimed.
"Young people showed up like never before. This was a very hopeful sign for our future," Stabenow added.
Stabenow made promises to her constituents even with her lame-duck status. "For the next two years, I am intensely focused on continuing this important work to improve the lives of Michiganders."
"This includes leading the passage of the next five-year Farm Bill which determines our nation’s food and agriculture policies," Stabenow said. "It is also key in protecting our land and water and creating jobs in our rural and urban communities."
She closed out by sharing her plans after the Senate. "When my term ends, I intend to begin a new chapter in my life that includes continuing to serve our State outside of elected office while spending precious time with my amazing 96-year-old mom and my wonderful family."
Despite her promises and flowery language, Stabenow has left her party in a lurch for 2024, Politico reported. The state has come into play in a significant way for Democrats in recent elections.
It's not that it will be difficult to find a worthy candidate, but rather that a bottleneck has been created in the state's party with many likely contenders. "It’s a traffic jam," a state Democratic strategist said on the condition of anonymity.
The individual also said there was a feeling that nobody in the running "clears the deck." At the same time, Republicans will also be pursuing the seat with an eye toward helping win the 2024 presidential election.
However, the Michigan GOP is still in tatters over varied levels of support for former President Donald Trump. There's a chance the in-fighting could clear the Republican field enough to allow whichever Democrat finds favor after Stabenow if they're not careful.
The political realm is crowded with leftovers from a bygone era like Stabenow. Both parties increasingly have the opportunity to refresh the field as mainstays like Stabenow leave their posts.