'One thing you will have when I go to the halls of Congress is a fighter,' Lawrence said Wednesday morning. (Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News)
Southfield — Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence said Wednesday she will seek the Democratic nomination for the 14th Congressional House District seat — an office that has already drawn interest from three Democratic state lawmakers.
“One thing you will have when I go to the halls of Congress is a fighter,” Lawrence said Wednesday morning in front of supporters here.
Lawrence has served as Southfield’s top elected official since 2001, when voters made her both the city’s first woman and African-American mayor. She also has unsuccessfully sought higher office as the Democrats’ 2010 lieutenant governor nominee with Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and the Democratic opponent in 2008 to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
The congressional seat is up for grabs after U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, decided to seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Carl Levin, D-Detroit. The Democratic field already includes state Sens. Bert Johnson, Detroit, and Vincent Gregory, Southfield; state Rep. Rudy Hobbs, Southfield, who has been endorsed by Sen. Levin and his brother, U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak; Maurice Morton, formerly of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office; and Detroit resident Stephen Dunwoody.
The district includes portions of Oakland County — Pontiac, West Bloomfield Township, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Orchard Lake, Lathrup Village, Southfield, Oak Park and Royal Oak Township — as well as areas of Wayne County, such as Harper Woods, Hamtramck and the Grosse Pointe neighborhoods.
“This district is 75 miles long,” Lawrence said. “For some people that’s daunting. For me, I put on my gym shoes and I’m ready to run. ... And I’m running on the slogan of ‘Experience Matters.’ ”
In press materials released Wednesday, Lawrence indicated her campaign will focus on evening pay scales between men and women, enacting “sensible gun laws,” defending women’s “right to choose” on abortion, and protecting Medicare and Social Security. She also touted having a purported 78 percent approval rating for her job as Southfield mayor.
The Lawrence camp reported it has raised more than $100,000 for the upcoming campaign. But Hobbs said in a Wednesday statement that his campaign has raised nearly $275,000 and has more than $200,000 in cash on hand.
Hobbs also sought to diminish Lawrence’s entrance into the race by announcing he has been endorsed by former Gov. James Blanchard and members of the Southfield City Council such as Myron Frasier and Kenson Siver as well as former Southfield City Councilwoman Barbara Talley, the first African-American elected to Southfield city government.