Pro-Israel group AIPAC endorses Rep. Stevens in Democratic primary

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

Washington — The powerful pro-Israel group American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Thursday endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens, who is facing U.S. Rep. Andy Levin in a primary contest for a congressional seat representing parts of Oakland County.

AIPAC, which recently formed a political action committee, contributed about $2,900 to Stevens' campaign directly and also collected $280,000 in individual contributions  earmarked for her campaign, spokesman Marshall Wittmann said.  

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

AIPAC PAC said it raised $1.67 million overall and an additional $1 million for candidates in its first 10 weeks. It also backed Michigan U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, and Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids Township, among its first wave of over 100 endorsements Thursday.

Stevens, a sophomore lawmaker in Waterford Township, is running for a third term in Michigan's new 11th District following the redistricting process. She is facing Levin of Bloomfield Township, who has criticized Israeli policy and advocated for Palestinian human rights.

“Team Levin is proud not to be on a list that includes members of Congress who actively support Trump’s insurrection and refuse to protect voting rights," Levin spokeswoman Jenny Byer said.

"Congressman Levin remains committed to working with colleagues to support a secure and democratic Israel and democracy here at home.”

More:Levin-Stevens primary contest reflects split among Democrats over Israel

The 11th District covers much of the Jewish community in Metro Detroit, including communities such as West Bloomfield, Oak Park, Birmingham, Huntington Woods and Farmington Hills.

A group of Jewish supporters, including some affiliated with AIPAC, held a fundraiser last week for Stevens in Michigan that raised about $380,000, according to her campaign. That campaign fundraiser was separate from the bundled contributions announced Thursday by AIPAC, both parties said. 

Stevens has been endorsed by the Democratic Majority for Israel and Pro-Israel America, while Levin has the backing of the liberal Jewish organization J Street and the Muslim-American civil rights group Emgage.