POLITICS
05/01/2013 01:07 pm ET

Gary Peters Running For Carl Levin's Senate Seat, Michigan Congressman Announces

AP

U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) has announced his plans to run for the soon-to-be vacated Senate seat held by veteran pol Carl Levin (D-Mich).

Peters released a letter Wednesday to campaign supporters that said he and his wife, Colleen, expect to campaign for Levin's Senate seat.

"I am officially announcing that I am a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2014," he wrote. "This is a critical time for Michigan, and our main streets and middle class need an independent voice fighting for them. Washington is a mess, but Michigan is on the verge of re-inventing itself with a new economy and a middle class that’s stronger than ever -- and I want to be on the front lines of that fight."

Peters was elected to his second term in the House last November. He represents Michigan's 9th District, which mostly encompasses wealthy Oakland County.

He added that he wanted to "set politics and party aside."

"if it’s not right for Michigan’s small businesses and middle class, it’s never been right with me," he said."I think that kind of independent approach is exactly what Michigan needs in the Senate right now."

78-year-old Levin, who announced his upcoming retirement in March, is Michigan's longest-serving senator. Peters praised his long history in Washington.

"His thoughtfulness and integrity are respected around Michigan and across the nation, and he represents the best of what it means to be a true public servant," Peters said.

Levin is retiring after more than 35 years in the Senate. His seat is expected to be one of the most hotly contested partisan battles of the 2014 elections -- The Associated Press deemed the speculation a "frenzy."

"It is absolutely critical that Democrats hold this seat," Peters told AP in March.

Other candidates who have been named as possible candidates include Mark Schauer, a fellow Democrat, and several GOP candidates, including Reps. Mike Rogers and Justin Amash, as well as Lt. Gov Brian Calley.

In addition to his years of service in the Senate, Levin rose through the ranks to become the Chairman of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Subcomittee on Investigations (PSI), known as "the most feared committee" on the Hill.

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