Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow said on Thursday that she will not run for reelection. The surprise announcement will leave open a battleground seat in 2024.

"Inspired by a new generation of leaders, I have decided to pass the torch in the U.S. Senate," the Democratic said in a statement. She said that leaving her position will allow her to spend more time with her 96-year-old mother and family.

Stabenow will leave at the end of her fourth term on Jan. 3, 2025. The 72-year-old Senator is currently the No. 3 Democrat in the chamber, chairing the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

Stabenow was a Michigan state legislator before being elected to the House in 1996. She became the first female Senator to be elected from Michigan in 2000.

The Michigan Senator has continued to stave off Republican rivals for the seat in the swing state, defeating Spence Abraham in 2000, Mike Bouchard in 2006 and John James in 2018. Stabenow has been a strong ally of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said he is "confident Democrats will retain the seat."

"Debbie is a great senator, a great friend, a great ally, and a great Michigander," Schumer said.

Republicans are looking at Stabenow's retirement as an opportunity after suffering defeats in the midterms. Mike Berg, a spokesman for the Republican Senatorial Committee, said that the GOP will "aggressively target this seat in 2024." Possible Republican candidates for the spot include Rep.-elect John James, Rep. Lisa McClain, and Tudor Dixon, who lost the Michigan gubernatorial race to Democrat Gretchen Whitmer last year.

"This could be the first of many Senate Democrats who decide to retire rather than lose," Berg said.

Stabenow had previously indicated that she planned to run again in 2024. The switch, she said in an interview, was decided in "the last few weeks" following Democrat success in the midterm election cycle.

"When it was so clear that we did so well and we had such wonderful new leaders coming in, I felt confident that I could seriously think about it," the Senator said in an interview.

Several Democrats have begun eyeing the seat. Possible Democratic candidates include Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Debbie Dingell, and Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow.

Stabenow said she will finish out her term "leading the passage of the next five-year Farm Bill which determines our nation's food and agriculture policies."