By KEN THOMAS
Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan says he will not seek re-election in 2014. He says he wants to do his job as Senate Armed Services chairman and as an advocate for his home state "without the distraction of campaigning for re-election."
Levin was first elected to the Senate in 1978 and is the longest-serving senator in Michigan's history. The 78-year-old lawmaker says in a statement the decision was "extremely difficult." He says he loves representing the people of Michigan and fighting for what he believes is important for them.
Levin's retirement creates an open seat for Democrats in a state where Republicans have fared well in recent state elections. Democrats have to defend open seats in West Virginia, Iowa and New Jersey in the aftermath of three retirements.