Haley Stevens and Andy Levin became Democratic colleagues in Michigan's congressional delegation after each was elected to the U.S. House in 2018. Now they're opponents in a political version of musical chairs.
Each wants a third term, but redistricting and the state's loss of a seat means only one will serve. They face off in the redrawn 11th Congressional District, a showdown that adds a sharp edge to comments about each other.
Stevens told Fox 2 last weekend that she's "very surprised" Levin chose to run in her district. "I couldn't imagine abandoning over 70 percent of my current constituents in an open and winnable congressional seat to [run in a] primary [against] a fellow Democrat," the Waterford Township congresswoman said.
"Right now, we need Democrats in Congress more than ever as we work to expand voting rights, lower the cost of prescription drugs and fight the climate crisis. ... I will not be pushed out of my district."
Levin reacted Monday by saying neither he nor Stevens has a "claim" to the district, The Detroit News reports.
"No current Member of Congress has represented the new districts as drawn, full stop. I am running in the district drawn around the home where I’ve lived for 16 years raising my family, where I was raised, where my family has been for five generations and where voters have supported me," said Levin, who succeeded his father, Sandy Levin, in Congress in 2019.
"This is not a game of 'musical chairs,' as some would suggest. Members of the House have to run every two years on our record and have to earn the support of voters."
Levin lives in Bloomfield Township. Congressional correspondent Melissa Nann Burke of The News notes that "about 41% of Stevens' current district population is in the new 11th, compared with roughly 26% of Levin's constituents. The rest of the new 11th is largely represented by retiring Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield."
Stevens leads Levin in fundraising, The News adds. In October-December 2021, she drew about $634,500 in campaign donations to Levin's $364,600. Stevens had over $1.9 million in her re-election account Dec. 31, compared to Levin's $1.1 million.
Stevens' campaign emphasized that it was the fourth consecutive quarter that she had outraised Levin.