WASHINGTON — Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, announced Thursday that she will not seek re-election in 2024, setting the stage for a competitive Senate race in a key battleground state during a presidential election year.

In a statement, Stabenow, 72, said she has been «inspired by a new generation of leaders» to «pass the torch in the United States Senate.» She said that she will serve her current six-year term until January 3, 2025.

She noted that she blazed trails by «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 US Senate. But I’ve always believed that it’s not enough to be the ‘first’ unless there is a ‘second’ and a ‘third’…»

Over the next two years, he said he will focus intensely on continuing his work representing Michiganders, including shepherding the upcoming five-year farm bill.

As for life after Congress, Stabenow said, «When my term ends, I intend to start a new chapter in my life that includes continuing to serve our State outside of elected office while spending precious time with my amazing mother of 96 years old and my wonderful family.»

Stabenow’s withdrawal opens the seat for a deep Democratic seat in Michigan. Democrats, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, were re-elected to various state offices in November. Others whose names will be in the mix: Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Attorney General Dana Nessel and State Sen. Mallory McMorrow, who gained a national following last year after going viral with her pushback against the anti-LGBTQ community. rhetoric. Democratic US Representatives Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens could also be considering promotions.

Early speculation is also likely to focus heavily on US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who moved to Michigan in July after his failed 2020 presidential campaign. Buttigieg has long downplayed the importance of his newly established residence, noting that the secretary’s in-laws live in the state and that he and her husband wanted to be close to family while raising their children.

On the Republican side, Rep.-elect John James, who lost to Stabenow in 2018 and won a House seat in November, is likely to be mentioned as a prospect, as are other Republicans in the state legislature and congressional delegation. . Tudor Dixon, who lost to Whitmer in last year’s gubernatorial race, could be another possibility, along with other far-right Republicans who failed to win state office in 2022.

Stabenow has served in the Senate since 2001 and previously served in the House from 1997 until he began his upper house career. Before coming to Congress, he also served in both the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate.

She holds various Democratic leadership positions, including chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

He has served alongside Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., since he joined Congress in 2015.

Stabenow is among 21 Senate Democrats whose terms expire in 2025. The Democrats face an uphill climb to maintain a majority in the upcoming election.