PUTTING ON THE GLOVES
We’re disappointed to see two popular Democratic congresspersons – Haley Stevens and Andy Levin – getting ready to rumble in the August primary for the newly-drawn 11th District, which encompasses most of Oakland County in a contiguous and non-gerrymandered shape – over 40 percent of Stevens’ current district. Levin, in announcing his decision to go for the 11th, rather than the more widely expected – but Republican-leaning – 10th District, which covers a portion of Oakland but a wide swath of Macomb County, a lot of his current 9th District, stating he lives in Bloomfield Township and grew up in Berkley. But there is no residency requirement for Congress – former Rep. John Conyers hadn’t lived in his district in several years, and when Republicans gerrymandered then-Rep. (now Senator) Gary Peters in what is now Rep. Brenda Lawrence’s 14th District seat out of Bloomfield Township west and south, to West Bloomfield, Southfield and Detroit – he ran and won. And didn’t move. Levin’s name recognition – and progressive work and union backing – might bolster him in the southern part of the Oakland County district, but the northern and central portion could be a different situation. Stevens is definitely winning the money game so far – as of January 1, she had a war chest of over $2 million cash on hand, compared to Levin’s $935,645. It’s early in the name game – but Levin’s playing hardball, wracking up endorsements from Pontiac’s new mayor Tim Greimel, the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise, a Republican, reached across the aisle to thank Stevens for her work in Washington on behalf of the township. It appears Stevens may have the support of fellow Oakland County Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-Detroit, Pontiac, Southfield, Farmington, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield), who is retiring, and between the two, represent two-thirds of Oakland County. Lawrence introduced Stevens to voters in Pontiac at MLK events. Stevens, a manufacturing and technology stalwart, has said she feels really good about her strengths.