Two Incumbent Democrats Vie for Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, Leave the 10th Congressional District a Seat Open

Democratic U.S. Representatives Andy Levin (D-MI-09) and Haley Stevens (D-MI-11) have announced their plans to run in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, setting up an incumbent-versus-incumbent primary that will leave the state’s 10th Congressional District seat open.

Redistricting changed the district lines and numbering, significantly affected Michigan’s 10th and 11th Congressional Districts, and likely led to Levin and Stevens running against each other in a Democrat primary. The new district lines, drawn by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, took Michigan’s 11th Congressional District from an R+2 partisan rating to a D+15, according to Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.

Michigan’s 10th Congressional District, which now encompasses a lot of what used to be Michigan’s 9th Congressional District, now has a R+6 rating. The Cook Political Report rates Michigan’s 10th Congressional District race as Lean Republican. Former Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2018 and 2020 John James announced his intentions to run in the Republican primary for Michigan’s 10th Congressional District in late January. James raised $9,838,137.84 for his U.S. Senate race in 2018 and raised over $46 million for the 2020 Senate election.

The Hill reported that attorney and former nurse Eric Esshaki is also running and has raised $423,307 with $412,411.45 on hand. Former Representative Mike Bishop (R-Mich.), Oakland County Republican Chairman Rocky Raczkowski, and former House candidate Lena Epstein are considering entering the race as well.

Republican chances for victory in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District face an uphill battle, given the D+15 partisan rating.

In the Democrat primary for the state’s 11th Congressional District, Stevens holds the edge in fundraising and cash on hand. For this cycle, FEC records show that she has raised $2,548,138.57 and has $1,986,094.21 of it on hand. Levin has raised $1,275,259.54 and has $1,118,706.46 on hand. The nearest Republican trails significantly to both Democrats in fundraising. Businessman Matthew DenOtter has raised $206,871.00 and has $163,380.88 on hand.

One factor that could turn all of these races on their heads is if redistricting is overturned in court. There are several pending lawsuits challenging the new maps.

The most prominent lawsuit has been thrown out, however. The Michigan Supreme Court recently dismissed a lawsuit brought by Detroit lawmakers and local politicians who alleged the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission’s new district lines violated the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit filers then took the unusual step of petitioning the Michigan Supreme Court to reconsider their decision. The petition was denied.

Other lawsuits could still be filed.

Barring a successful challenge to the new district lines, the primaries for both Michigan’s 10th and 11th Congressional Districts will occur on August 2.

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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Andy Levin” by Andy Levin. Photo “Haley Stevens” by United States Congress. Background Photo “Michigan State Capitol” by Subterranean. CC BY-SA 3.0.



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