Michigan Sen. Carl Levin announced today that he would not seek reelection in 2014. Levin chairs the Armed Services Committee.
In a statement, he called the decision "extremely difficult."
"As Barbara and I struggled with the question of whether I should run again, we focused on our belief that our country is at a crossroads that will determine our economic health and security for decades to come," Levin said. "We decided that I can best serve my state and nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us that I am in a position to help address; in other words, by doing my job without the distraction of campaigning for re-election."
Levin, Michigan's senior senator, has served since 1995.
In his statement, he said he would spend the next two years concentrating on tax reform, manufacturing and campaign finance reform.
The Washington Post sums up Levin's influence on Washington like this:
"As Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Levin has spearheaded some key proposals on national security. He fought tirelessly to end the Iraq war, which he opposed from the start. He has also proposed measures to prevent the torture of alleged terrorist detainees and to make it harder for companies like Enron to defraud their investors.
"Levin's opinions are widely respected on both sides of the aisle. Time magazine, which voted him one of the best senators in 2006, writes that no Democratic senator will say anything on national security issues without running it by Levin."