WASHINGTON — There’s a lot at stake in a rare Michigan Democratic congressional primary incumbent versus incumbent Tuesday: the ideological leadership of the Democratic Party, US policy toward Israel, and millions upon millions of dollars.
More centrist and better-funded Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich., is trying to bring down Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., the progressive scion of one of the state’s most prominent political families.
A recent independent survey found that Stevens was up 27 percentage points.
“It’s pretty consistent with what we’ve seen,” said Larkin Parker, a spokeswoman for Stevens, who added that Stevens’ team “expects this to be an early call.”
But Levin’s camp insists the public survey does not match its own polls or reflect voter sentiment.
“Our interns are still showing a very tight race,” spokeswoman Jenny Byer said.
Regardless, the race has drawn national and international attention as a proxy war between factions of the pro-Israel community, with the Hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, backing Stevens and the group. dovish J Street supporting Levin. At the local level, both campaigns have focused on appealing to voters of color, who make up 29% of the district’s voting-age population.
More broadly, the fight pits the party’s ideological wings against each other and has implications for which side suburban Democrats prefer to head into the November general election and the 2024 presidential race.
On consecutive weekends in late July, two liberal lions, the senses. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., traveled to Pontiac — 30 miles northwest of Detroit — to defend Levin. In addition to AIPAC, which has helped raise donations and used its political action committee to buy more than $900,000 worth of ads in the district, Stevens claims support from EMILY’s List – a group that supports the right abortion – and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Stevens and Levin are facing each other because Michigan’s congressional map was redrawn to combine significant parts of their existing territory in the same district, as well as a piece of territory currently represented by Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich. Lawrence decided to retire, and she endorsed Stevens, as did Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The two lawmakers almost always vote the same in the House. But Levin is an activist who has embraced key pillars of the progressive movement’s agenda, including Sanders’ single-payer health insurance plan, the Green New Deal climate proposal and criticism of Israel’s handling of its relations with the Palestinians.
One of Stevens’ most influential supporters this year accused Levin, who is Jewish, of being “arguably the most corrosive congressman for US-Israel relations.”
Stevens, who prefers a public option for health insurance, did not sign the House’s Green New Deal bill, and she has always supported American support for the Israeli government. Allies regularly describe her as pragmatic in her approach to politics.
In one of their few splits on major legislation, Stevens voted for the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, which overhauled and replaced the old North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States. , Mexico and Canada. Levin, who has the support of some national unions, voted against the Trump-era deal.
While the race directly affects only one congressional seat, the spending and high-level endorsements underscore the importance political elites place on the outcome of the contest, which has come to mean far more to activists, donors and leaders of the progressive party. and the centrist wings of the Democratic Party.
Larkin said Stevens took a “big jump” in his numbers after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe’s federal protection against Wade for abortion rights.
Stevens’ support in the business community and among AIPAC-affiliated donors had helped her raise $4.7 million by mid-July, including $1.5 million she still had for the last few years. weeks of the race.
Levin, whose father and uncle served in Congress, struggled to keep up. He had raised $2.7 million by mid-July and had just over $700,000 on hand.
Outside groups poured money into the race, disproportionately in favor of Stevens.
In addition to the $900,000+ that AIPAC’s political committee spent on ads for her, EMILY’s List paid over $875,000 for ads supporting her. Levin’s outside supporters have spent just over $200,000 promoting his chances, according to Federal Election Commission records.