Stabenow’s surprise retirement changes everything about 2024 US Senate race

Sen. Stabenow spoke to Detroit Today about her decision not to run for reelection in 2024.

Debbie Stabenow

Michigan U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow makes her way on stage at the Michigan Democratic election night watch party at MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit on Nov. 8, 2022.

On Thursday, Michigan Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow decided not to run for reelection in 2024.

Stabenow was the first woman to be elected to a U.S. Senate seat from Michigan in 2000, and has established a political career that has spanned five decades. She first became an elected politician in 1974 when she sat on the Ingham County Commission. She was then elected to the Michigan Legislature before becoming serving in the U.S. House, and eventually unseating Republican Senator Spencer Abraham.

During her time in office, Stabenow has prioritized farmers and Michigan’s agricultural sector, and has pushed for more spending on mental healthcare, support for new parents, and families in need.

Who will Republicans and Democrats put forward to run for the soon-to-be vacant Senate seat, and what will the long-term effects be for American politics?

Stabenow joined Detroit Today to speak with host Stephen Henderson about her retirement decision and the legacy she will leave behind. He was later joined by two political experts to discuss how this changes the 2024 Michigan U.S. Senate race.

“This really feels like the right time for me to take that step, and it does coincide with personal considerations for me. My mom is 96 years old and time with her is very precious.” — Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Listen: What Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s retirement means for Michigan’s political candidates



Senator Debbie Stabenow is a Democrat from Michigan. She says she’s retiring to spend more time with her mother, and because she’s optimistic about the young people entering politics.

“This really feels like the right time for me to take that step, and it does coincide with personal considerations for me. My mom is 96 years old and time with her is very precious,” explains Stabenow.

John Sellek is a Republican political communications consultant, founder and CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs. Sellek doesn’t think the Michigan GOP will be able to put forward a serious candidate to flip Stabenow’s seat for the party.

“The Republican side will just be entertainment — pure entertainment,” says Sellek.

Lavora Barnes is the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, and is currently running for reelection for the position. Barnes believes her party in Michigan has an expansive list of potential candidates to run for Stabenow’s seat in 2024.

“I will tell you this, everyone I’ve talked to or heard about or talk about would be an excellent U.S. Senator — that’s how deep the Michigan Democratic Party bench is right now,” says Barnes.

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  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.
  • Sam Corey
    Sam Corey is a producer for The Metro on 101.9 WDET. In that role, he goes out in search of fun and interesting stories for radio. He enjoys salsa dancing — and actual salsa.