LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — With U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow not running for re-election, the question is who wants to replace her and will she leave early to give the Democrats a better chance of holding onto the Senate.

Former Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller last week was showing a real interest in running for the U.S. Senate. She would have been the GOP front runner, but now, she says she will not run.

However, Kevin Rinke, former GOP candidate for governor, is not only interested he is “looking at it real hard” and will have a decision within a month.

And the list goes on.

Former GOP Congressman Peter Meijer, retired GOP Congressman Fred Upton, former GOP Congressman and candidate for Governor Bill Schuette, as could newly elected GOP Congressman John James, who ran for the Senate twice and lost, but this time it’s an open seat with no incumbent running.

But it may not be an open seat if somehow the Democrats persuade Sen. Stabenow to retire before her term is over in 2024.

If Stabenow left early, Gov. Gretchen Whiter could appoint a Democratic replacement, making him or her the incumbent in the race, thus avoiding a possible divisive and expensive primary among a host of Democrats battling each other for the nomination.

A GOP consultant thinks the pressure on Stabenow will come from President Joe Biden and others to hang it up early.

“The best thing for the rest of the Democratic Party and Gretchen Whitmer, the thing to avoid a messy primary, is to get somebody into that seat as soon as possible. Start raising money and they can start showing the rest of the state who they are,” said GOP consultant John Sellek.

Look for newly re-elected Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin to get in the race, perhaps as early as this week.

Lt. Governor Garland Gilchrist is also being mentioned, along with Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and a host of others.

For the early exit strategy to work for the Democrats, the Senator has to say yes. But she is saying no.

“I believe the best way I can serve Michigan is by completing my responsibilities and I look forward to doing that,” Stabenow said.

Will the Senator change her mind? If so, the Democrats will be overjoyed. The Republicans? Not so much.