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Stevens defeats Esshaki in Metro Detroit's 11th District, winning second term

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens won a second term in Congress on Thursday, defeating Republican Eric Esshaki of Birmingham.

Stevens, D-Rochester Hills, finished ahead of Esshaki 50% to 48%, with all precinctsreporting in Michigan's 11th Congressional District, which includes parts of Oakland County and Wayne County. 

U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens during a meeting and tour with executives of Mahle Industries Inc.

“I am honored and humbled to represent Michigan’s 11th District in Congress for a second term,” Stevens said in a statement. “I am proud to call this district home and I love the people with all my heart. We face significant challenges in the months to come, from the COVID-19 pandemic to an extended period of economic recovery.

"I intend to work with Republicans and Democrats alike to stand up for Michigan workers and small businesses, and protect the health and safety of everyone to get our economy back on track.”

Stevens, 37, maintained the edge through fundraising, ads and on-the-ground campaigning throughout the cycle.

The 11th District had been reliably Republican until Stevens won the seat over Republican Lena Epstein in 2018. They had battled for the open seat left by the retiring U.S. Rep. David Trott, R-Birmingham. 

Stevens, a former chief of staff for President Barack Obama's auto rescue task force, won her seat by about 7 percentage points during the 2018 "blue wave." Trump won the district in 2016 by 5 percentage points. 

Eric Esshaki

Esshaki, a Birmingham lawyer and former nurse, fought in federal court to get his name on the primary ballot when candidates and campaigns struggled to collect signatures at the height of the pandemic. 

He was aided in the 11th by ads from the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super political action committee backed by the U.S. House Republican Leadership. He attempted to tap into voter disgust with Washington D.C. gridlock and promised to be a strict follower of the U.S. Constitution. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com