U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) kicked off the final nine-day stretch until the Democratic primary in Michigan’s new 11th Congressional District, rallying on Sunday for U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) in his race against fellow incumbent Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills).
Warren, who previously worked with Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) on the Build Green Act, said that the planet is on fire as she rattled off a plethora of things Democrats need to do to address climate change, from clean energy to insulating homes to electric vehicle adoption.
But Warren said the warnings of experts fall on deaf ears for Republicans in Congress.
“When your ears are stuffed with money from the fossil fuel industry, you can’t hear from the American people who say, ‘It is time to fight the climate crisis head on’,” Warren said at the campaign event in downtown Pontiac. “Andy Levin knows climate. Andy Levin has put himself on the line on climate. And when, in January 2023, we are out there in this fight, when we have our two more senators in the U.S. Senate … and we have held onto the U.S. House, and we are in that foxhole to take on that climate fight, I want to look over and see that Andy Levin is fighting right alongside me.”
Levin and Stevens, who previously worked for the Obama administration and flipped a Republican-held seat in 2018, are incumbents running against one another in the Aug. 2 primary after the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission completed news maps for each of Michigan’s congressional, state Senate and state House districts last year. The new 11th Congressional District encompasses Royal Oak, Birmingham, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield Township, and Pontiac.
Warren cited workers’ rights as another reason she decided to endorse Levin.
“I’m excited about what’s happening in the union movement. This is really terrific. Right now, watch the baristas. God, the baristas are organizing. They’re doing it in Starbucks, they’re doing it in independent places,” Warren said. “Here’s the problem. I celebrate with them, I go out and try to help, I do videos for the programs. But the truth is it’s just too damn hard. It’s too hard to organize right now. The playing field is not level. It is tilted toward the employers. The employers have way too much room to intimidate, to mislead, to threaten and to retaliate.”
Levin has been endorsed by labor unions such as the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 951. He received Warren’s endorsement in June and has also been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who will hold a rally with Levin July 29.
Stevens (D-Waterford Twp.) has been endorsed by Hillary Clinton, U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Detroit), and Emily’s List.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund has endorsed both Levin and Stevens, declining to pick a side, while former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has endorsed Levin.
In her endorsement for Stevens, Clinton cited the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
“It has never been more important to have pro-choice women in office to enshrine abortion rights into law and defend the rights of America’s women and girls,” Clinton said in a statement.
“In 2018, Haley Stevens stepped up and flipped a red seat blue and became the first woman to represent Michigan’s 11th District in Congress because she refused to sit on the sidelines while Donald Trump’s radical Republican agenda went unchecked.”
Warren also touted abortion rights as another reason she was campaigning for Levin.
“An extremist U.S. Supreme Court has decided that they can make decisions for half the population in this country. They have decided that they and they alone are going to deny full healthcare, going to deny access to abortion, to anyone in this country who wants it,” Warren said. “Well, I have news for them: the U.S. Supreme Court is not the last word on abortion.”
“When I am in that foxhole in January, fighting for our rights, fighting for equal citizenship for every person in this country, I want to look over to my side and see Andy Levin in that foxhole with me.”
Levin was arrested twice last week for blocking traffic in Washington, D.C. while protesting for abortion rights and supporting picketing Senate cafeteria workers.
“I don’t trust Andy because he has a slick line. I don’t trust Andy because he has just the right words and he’s carefully chosen just which bill he’s going to let his name be put on because he hangs back and waits. I trust Andy because he fights from the heart,” Warren said. “I trust him because he fights not by looking at careful calculations, I trust him because he fights with courage. He gets in the fights all the way, and he gets in them not because the donors like it, not because it will avoid political controversy, he gets in the fights because they are the righteous fights.”
Recent polling shows Stevens leading Levin 58% to 31% with 11% remaining undecided.
Levin also trails Stevens in fundraising, with Stevens raising more than $1 million in the second quarter of 2022 to Levin’s $555,218.
Levin reported having $1.1 million cash on hand at the time, compared to Stevens’ $1.8 million.
“He knows how to deliver. He’s pragmatic, yeah, he gets it done. But this could be hard, for a really ugly reason. He’s getting outspent,” Warren said. “He’s getting outspent more than two to one. He’s in a race right now that is uphill because those with a lot of money have said they don’t want him back in Congress. And that worries me. It worries me not just in this race, it worries me for our democracy. He’s got to run uphill because he has given it everything he’s got.”
Originally published by Michigan Advance. It is republished with permission.