In Michigan, just one of these House Democrats will prevail in a test of party tradition.

WASHINGTON In a rare incumbent versus. incumbent Democratic congressional primary in Michigan on Tuesday, a lot is on the line, including the ideological orientation of the Democratic Party, American policy toward Israel, and millions of dollars.

Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., the progressive scion of one of the state’s most important political families, is being challenged by Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich., who is more moderate and better funded.

A recent independent survey revealed a 27-point advantage for Stevens.

Larkin Parker, a spokesman for Stevens, stated that “it’s pretty consistent with what we’ve been seeing” and that Stevens’ staff is “expecting this to be an early call.”

The Levin campaign, meanwhile, is adamant that the public survey does not reflect voter opinion or correspond to its own polling.
According to spokeswoman Jenny Byer, “our internals are still showing an extremely close race.”

In any case, the election has attracted national and international attention as a proxy conflict between pro-Israel groups, with the hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, supporting Stevens and the dovish group J Street, supporting Levin. Both local campaigns have emphasized winning over voters of color, who make up 29 percent of the district’s population of voting age.

More generally, the conflict pits the ideological strands of the party and has repercussions for whose candidate suburban Democrats will support in the general election in November and the 2024 presidential contest.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) traveled to Pontiac, which is located 30 miles northwest of Detroit, on consecutive weekends in late July to support Levin. Stevens also claims the backing of EMILY’s List, an organization that advocates abortion rights, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in addition to AIPAC, which helped raise money and utilized its political action committee to purchase more than $900,000 in advertisements in the area.

Due to the redistricting of Michigan’s congressional district lines, which also included a portion of the district currently held by Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Michigan, Stevens and Levin are now in opposition to one another. Lawrence, who has chosen to retire, as well as Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, have both endorsed Stevens.

On the House floor, the two lawmakers are almost always vote the same way. Levin, however, is a progressive activist who supports the major tenets of the progressive movement’s platform, such as Sanders’ Medicare for All single-payer health insurance plan, the Green New Deal climate change proposal, and criticism of Israel’s management of its relations with the Palestinians.

This year, one of Levin’s Jewish fans said that he was the member of Congress who had done the greatest damage to relations between the United States and Israel.

Stevens, who favors a public health insurance option, hasn’t endorsed the Green New Deal legislation from the House and has continuously backed American support for Israel’s leadership. Allies frequently characterize her political stance as pragmatic.

Stevens supported the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which updated and replaced the previous North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, in one of their few disagreements over significant legislation. With some national unions on his side, Levin voted against the Trump-era pact.

Although just one congressional seat is actually at stake in the race, high-profile endorsements and investment show how important political elites perceive the outcome to be. This is especially true for activists, donors, and the Democratic Party’s progressive and centrist leaders.

After the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, which struck down Roe v. Wade’s federal protection for abortion rights, Larkin claimed Stevens saw a “huge spike” in her supporter base.

By mid-July, Stevens had raised $4.7 million thanks to the backing of the business community and contributors who were linked with AIPAC, with $1.5 million of that amount remaining on hand for the last few weeks of the contest.

Levin has had a hard time keeping up because both his father and uncle were elected to Congress. By the middle of July, he had raised $2.7 million and had a little over $700,000 on hand.

Money has been thrown into the election by outside organizations, disproportionately in Stevens’ favor.

Along with the more than $900,000 that AIPAC’s political group spent on her commercials, EMILY’s List also spent more than $875,000 on her behalf. A little over $200,000 has been spent by Levin’s outside backers to advance his candidacy, according to Federal Election Commission records.

More from the post


Recent Posts