WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, said on Thursday he would not seek re-election in 2014, ending more than three decades in the Senate.
“This decision was extremely difficult because I love representing the people of Michigan in the U.S. Senate and fighting for the things that I believe are important to them,” Levin, 78, said in a statement issued by his office.
In addition to chairing the Armed Services Committee since 2007, Levin sits on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Over the past few years, that panel has probed everything from money-laundering and the causes of the financial crisis to tax shelters.
Levin became the sixth senator to announce he would not seek re-election next year, following Democrats Tom Harkin of Iowa, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, and Republicans Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Mike Johanns of Nebraska.
Overall, 35 of the 100 Senate seats are up for election in 2014, 21 now held by Democrats, 14 by Republicans.
Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take control of the chamber, now held by Democrats, 55-45.
Additional reporting By Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Peter Cooney