Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., is "very interested" in running for Senate, he told the Detroit Free Press during an editorial board meeting Friday. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., announced Thursday he would not run for re-election, and a day later Peters said a Senate bid would allow him to continue his work in Washington and said his campaign experience and bipartisan appeal make him a strong candidate.
The Detroit-area representative has long been discussed as a potential candidate should Levin retire, and it appears he's moving quickly to grab frontrunner status. Prior to Levin's announcement, Peters had been floated as a potential gubernatorial candidate, but he indicated Friday that was never an option.
With state Democrats eager to unseat Gov. Rick Snyder, identifying a Senate candidate early in the cycle would allow them to focus on recruiting a challenger for the governor's race. Peters is a strong fundraiser and has unseated two incumbents, including former Rep. Hansen Clarke in a member-versus-member primary last year.
Still, one Democratic operative said Peters was moving to anoint himself for the open seat, but party support might not immediately coalesce behind him. Labor unions, the operative cited as an example, might take their time.
Other Democrats said to be considering bids include Debbie Dingell, a longtime party activist and wife of Rep. John Dingell, as well as former Rep. Mark Schauer. Schauer did not respond to requests for comment.
On the GOP side, a number of top-tier candidates said Friday they wouldn't be joining the race -- inclunding Rep. Candice Miller, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.
A spokesman for GOP Rep. Dave Camp said he is focused on passing tax reform in the House. "Once that is completed, he will consider his options, but not before then," he said. Rep. Mike Rogers also mentioned as a top GOP contender, issued a statement thanking Levin for his service but did not comment on his interest in the race. In a statement, Rep. Fred Upton said, “Never say never, but I have a huge responsibility chairing the Energy and Commerce Committee with much work ahead. So much in life comes down to timing. I need to assess how I can best serve the people of Michigan."
Former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land said in an interview she's "looking at it." A Senate bid, she said, is "an interest that I've had for some time." A spokeswoman for current Secretary of State Ruth Johnson did not explicitly rule out a run, but said "she's in the perfect spot for her right now. ... She's focused on her current job." State Sen. Roger Kahn's staff said he has not decided whether to run.
Former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and Cornerstone Schools founder Clark Durant, who ran in the 2012 Republican Senate primary, also ruled out bids for the seat.