WASHINGTON Michigan Republican Dave Camp, chairman of the tax-writing House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, is seriously mulling a run for the Senate seat held by retiring Democrat Carl Levin, sources close to Camp said on Wednesday.
Camp is giving "serious and thoughtful consideration" to a run for the Michigan Senate seat that will be open in 2014, an aide close to the lawmaker said on condition of anonymity.
His candidacy would pose a challenge for Michigan Democrats and could divert some of Camp's attention from efforts to revamp the U.S. tax code next year.
Elected in 1990, the 60-year-old Camp has been working with Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, on legislation to overhaul the tax code.
The duo has made pitches for tax reform, with Camp pledging to approve legislation before his panel this year.
Many analysts believe the hurdles were already high to complete the tax overhaul, given deep divisions between the parties over taxes.
Under House Republican term limits, Camp will lose his post as chairman of Ways and Means in 2014. Baucus has announced he will not run again when his term ends that same year.
Democrats hold a 54-to-46 majority in the Senate, but 2014 could give Republicans a chance to take control, according to political analysts.
Representative Gary Peters is the only declared Democratic candidate so far. Former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is running in the Republican primary.
"Camp would be a strong candidate," said Jennifer Duffy of the non-partisan Cook Political Report. "He can certainly raise the money, but since he hasn't had a competitive race in a while, he would need to put together a very solid team."
The Rothenberg Political Report, which tracks election data, rates 20 Democratic-held Senate seats as in play, and says 15 Republican seats as up for grabs. The report called the seat being vacated by 79-year-old Levin "safe" for Democrats to hold.
(Reporting by Kim Dixon; Editing by Vicki Allen and Stacey Joyce)