Levin's 2002 opponent Andrew Raczkowski considered running again, but military commitments forced him to drop out. State representative Jack Hoogendyk declared his candidancy to challenge Levin.Troy engineer Bart Baron was also running. Baron apparently failed to qualify for the August 5, 2008 party primary ballot in the Michigan Secretary of State's office. So only Hoogendyk was listed on the Republican side in the Michigan primary election. Levin was unopposed on the Democratic side. The filing deadline for candidates to run was May 13.
On November 19 WGVU Public television hosted a Senatorial debate to which only Democratic Senator Carl Levin and Republican State Representative Jack Hoogendyk were invited. They debated topics such as the economy, immigration, and foreign policy.
Levin blamed job loss in Michigan on President Bush, while Hoogendyk blamed Levin. Levin supported a Federal bailout of the auto industry, while Hoogendyk opposed the idea.
The event, which was moderated by WZZM TV 13's News anchor Peter Ross, was met with protest by supporters of excluded candidates. One of the protesters was Libertarian candidate Scotty Boman, who asserted that he met the stations qualifications. WGVU required the candidates to show at least 5% support in a statewide scientific poll, but Boman said no statewide poll had been done that included him. An exclusive WXYZ poll included all of the candidates, but only contacted respondents in the 7th and 9th Congressional district. Boman also claimed that public broadcasters should have invited the other candidates since it is supported with tax dollars.
Senator Carl Levin and State Representative Jack Hoogendyk met again, the following day (October 20), for a forum hosted by the Detroit Economic Club.