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Stateside Podcast: Senator Debbie Stabenow to retire

U.S. Semator Debbie Stabenow
Senate Democrats

Senator Debbie Stabenow announced today that she will retire when her fourth term ends in 2025. She has held the seat for 22 years and was the first woman from Michigan elected to the US Senate.

Rick Pluta, Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network, said that the announcement was unexpected, but not surprising.

“This is a really good time – not just for her personally – but also for Democrats to be able to fill this vacancy,” Pluta said. “She's going to be retiring in a presidential cycle. Democrats will have a nominal advantage in a swing state like Michigan. She can be influential in choosing her successor.”

The open Senate seat may also mean opportunities for the Republican Party in Michigan. There are a wide range of potential candidates on both sides of the political aisle.

“[K]eep in mind…that this is an open seat, which means that unless an heir apparent appears, that we could see a crowded Democratic primary; we could see a crowded Republican primary,” Pluta said. “Just look at the last race for [Michigan] governor…[A] dark horse can emerge and win to become the nominee.”

After 15 years in the Michigan Legislature followed by her stint in the US Senate, Debbie Stabenow has created a legacy for herself as a stronghold in Michigan politics. There’s no telling what will happen with the vacant Senate seat, but what we can expect is a closely watched race in 2024.

“This is a United States Senate seat. We're a swing state and that makes this a consequential election,” said Pluta. “[W]e will get more national attention than we were going to get otherwise.”

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Anna joined Stateside as an assistant producer in August 2021. She is a recent graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism and previously worked for The State News as an intern and student government reporter.
Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Public in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the summer of 2020.