Skip to main content

Endorsements: Our choice in Michigan's 11th Congressional District primary


Few elections are nastier than a primary that pits together two incumbents from the same party. It happens every 10 years in Michigan, when, thanks to lagging population growth, redistricting shrinks the number of congressional districts.

This time, Rep. Haley Stevens of Waterford Township and Rep. Andy Levin of Bloomfield Township are drawn into the 11th District, which includes most of Oakland County.

Both candidates decided to stay home to run against each other rather than move into the new 10th District, which now doesn't contain an incumbent. 

Stevens and Levin have been collegial colleagues during their four years in Congress together. Both are progressives, though they differ markedly in their distance from the center. And most often, their House votes are identical.

A lot of the friction in this race centers on who is the staunchest supporter of Israel. The district has a significant Jewish population. And though Levin is Jewish and Stevens is not, some pro-Israel groups have endorsed her and attacked him, primarily for being too accommodating of Palestinian grievances.

For us, however, the issue is who will best work against the drift of Congress toward the partisan extremes.

Levin, whose father, Sandy, previously held the seat, describes himself as a "bold progressive." He is rooted in liberal ideology and often stands in the company of the House's radical Squad, whose members include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Detroit's Rashida Tlaib.

That's a position that seems not quite right for this suburban district, which is among Michigan's wealthiest and includes a thriving business community.

While Levin is a member of the House Progressive Caucus, Stevens belongs to the New Democrat Coalition, which advocates for centrist positions and less partisanship in Congress. 

She calls herself a "business-friendly Democrat." That's a group that needs to grow.

Stevens has been one of the harder working members of the Michigan delegation. She has been present in her entire district, including its Republican-leaning communities. She has shown a good understanding of how business works and what it needs from the federal government.  

The 11th District, in its new configuration, is better served by Haley Stevens, and she is our choice in the Democratic primary. 

Two candidates are seeking the Republican nomination. They are Mark Ambrose of Bloomfield Township and Matthew DenOtter of Waterford, a Realtor.

Ambrose is one of the more impressive Republican congressional hopefuls on the Michigan ballot. His candidacy seems wasted in a district that is so overwhelmingly Democratic.

The Bloomfield Township financial analyst is a graduate of West Point who led a tank platoon in Iraq. 

He also holds a graduate degree in international affairs and an MBA from Columbia University. The father of an autistic child, Ambrose says he will champion those on the spectrum if he gets to Congress.

Mark Ambrose is the better choice in the GOP 11th District primary.