March 19 2013 12:00 AM

Former Lansing state representative won't seek Sen. Gretchen Whitmer's seat come 2014

Former State Representative Joan Bauer

Tuesday, March 19 —Former Rep. Joan Bauer will not run for the state Senate in 2014, saying in a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon that she wants to "explore other options and also want to spend quality time with my husband, Doug Langham."

Bauer was termed out of the state House in the Lansing-based 68th House District on Dec. 31 and was seen as the front-runner to succeeding Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, in the Ingham County-based 23rd District. Whitmer will be broomed due to term limits in 2014.

While only lightly referring to this in her Facebook post, Langham has suffered some health issues in recent years. The amount of time and energy involved in a competitive Senate campaign would inevitably take Bauer away from him, sources tell MIRS. That was not something she was willing to do.

"(He) has been steadfastly there for me during my seventeen years in public service," Bauer wrote in her post.

The timing of the announcement comes as Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr., has made it known he is exploring a run for the 23rd Senate District. Behind the scenes, Hertel has been aggressive, wrapping up significant support in recent months and forcing the race to begin much sooner than Bauer may have expected.

In her announcement, Bauer thanked the people of Lansing and the 68th House District for the "honor and privilege" of representing them in the state House and the Lansing City Council prior to that.

"It was an incredible experience, which I will treasure forever," she wrote. "I will continue to be active in our community and work on the issues that are so very important to me."

The 23rd Senate District has a 63 percent Democratic base, making the winner of the Dem primary a virtual lock for the General Election.