Outside group running ads in support of Levin days before primary
With a few days to go before the election, a mysterious political group is poring over $128,000 into the Democratic primary for the U.S. House in the 9th District in support of Andy Levin.
A super political action committee called The Principles Project has spent nearly $100,000 this week for air time on four Detroit-area television stations and about $29,500 for production of a commercial, according to federal filings. The ad focuses on education.
Levin of Bloomfield Township is facing former state Rep. Ellen Lipton of Huntington Woods and attorney Martin Brook of Bloomfield Township in Tuesday's primary.
The winner will face Republican Candius Stearns in the fall election to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin, the Royal Oak Democrat who is Andy's father.
It's unclear who is funding the super PAC's ad in support of Levin.
The group's minimalist website says it supports "progressive leaders" and was "founded on the fact that more than ever we need forward-looking leaders in and out of politics promoting issues based on strong principles and values."
Levin spokeswoman Jen Eyer said the campaign has no information about the group.
The ad decries U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' advocacy for for-profit charter schools, while hailing Levin's support for public schools.
"Andy Levin believes our schools should not be run by Wall Street companies," the narrator says, noting his four kids went to public schools and his wife is a teacher.
"Andy believes in a great public education for every child, affordable college without decades of debt, community college and apprenticeships to offer workers retraining. That's why we need Democrat Andy Levin in Congress."
Lipton was a fierce critic of charter schools during her three terms in the Michigan House and has criticized DeVos, as well, during the primary.
"Ellen Lipton is the only person in this race with a proven record of taking on — and defeating — Betsy DeVos. The Levin campaign knows this," Lipton spokeswoman Anna Scanlon said.
"That a dark money super PAC jumps in at the last minute to spend close to $100,000 on his behalf shows that they know what we know: Voters want change, we have the momentum, and we can win this race."
The Principles Project was previously funded by two executives at the Fortress Investment Group in New York City.
In March, Fortress CEO and co-founder Wesley Edens, who co-owns the Milwaukee Bucks, gave the super PAC $75,000, and co-founder and principal Randall Nardone donated $25,000, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures.
But a spokesman for the super PAC said Edens and Nardone didn't pay for the Michigan ad, instead funding a March project supporting Democrat Sean Casten in Illinois, another U.S. House candidate.
The Principles Project has not yet had to disclose its latest donors to the FEC, and the spokesman declined to identify them.