February 25, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Debbie Dingell to announce run for Congress Friday

John and Debbie Dingell: a political partnership
John and Debbie Dingell: a political partnership: Rep. Dingell and Sen. Debbie Stabenow talk about the couple

Washington — Debbie Dingell, a prominent Democrat and wife of longtime retiring Rep. John Dingell, will announce Friday in Michigan she is running for Congress, The Detroit News has learned.

Two people close to Dingell confirmed she will seek her the seat of her husband, the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history, and make the announcement in the 12th Congressional District in southeast Michigan.

John Dingell, 87, announced Monday he will step down after serving more than 59 years in Congress.

Debbie Dingell, 60, is chairwoman of the Wayne State University Board of Governors and a Michigan member of the Democratic National Committee. She has been her husband’s partner and confidant in politics since their marriage in 1981. They have been staples at community events and Democratic functions.

She has been eyeing a run for higher office as recently as last year when she considered a run for U.S. Senate with the retirement of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit. She bowed out to prevent a costly primary challenge with Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township.

The 12th Congressional District is heavily Democratic and includes Downriver Detroit, Dearborn and the Ann Arbor area. President Barack Obama carried the district in 2012 by beating Republican nominee Mitt Romney by 34 percentage points.

Debbie Dingell would be considered the front-runner in the race with her vast network from local officials devoted to her husband to national Democratic leaders. The Cook Political Report said Monday she is an early front-runner if she runs.

“She would be the prohibitive favorite in the race,” Lansing-based political consultant T.J. Bucholz said Monday.

Political analysts have said state Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, would be considered a strong candidate to challenge Debbie Dingell. Warren declined Monday to discuss whether she is interested in running. Former U.S. Rep. Lynn Rivers, who lost to John Dingell in a 2002 primary after redistricting, said Monday she is not interested in returning to Congress.

Candidates for Congress have until April 22 to submit at least 1,000 petition signatures to make the ballot for the Aug. 5 primary.

dshepardson@detroitnews.com
(202) 662-8735

Debbie Dingell said after Rep. Dingell Monday announced his retirement that she wouldn't discuss her election plans. 'Today, it's all about him,' she said. / Max Ortiz / The Detroit News