Andy Levin wins in Congressional District 9
Andy Levin defeated Ellen Lipton in the battle to replace his father, U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, in a district that covers parts of Macomb and Oakland counties.
Levin earned 53 percent of the vote to Lipton’s 42 percent. Martin Brook had 5 percent.
Andy Levin is the son of retiring U.S. Rep Sander Levin and he battled two insurgent candidates from the left, including the well-financed Lipton.
"I'm happy that there was a high turnout from what we can tell," Levin said late Tuesday night. "I wasn't surprised this was a competitive race. (Lipton) spent a great deal of money on her campaign.
"But I'm very pleased; our message was to end the politics of division and that message was met with a lot of enthusiasm by many," Levin said.
Lipton declined comment.
The fight in the Democrat-leaning 9th Congressional District revolved around who was the most left-leaning candidate to represent parts of Oakland and Macomb counties in the era of President Donald Trump.
Several voters in Warren in Macomb County, as well as Hazel Park in Oakland County, said it was difficult to choose between Levin and Lipton, but they liked that the candidates appeared to be pushing each other toward the left.
"I went for Lipton, but, I got to admit I didn't decide until this morning," said Tony Apolinar, 31, of Hazel Park, just after he voted Tuesday evening at Hazel Park Junior High School. "It's really because she endorsed Bernie Sanders" during his presidential run, he said. He added he "respected" Levin and wouldn't be disappointed if took the primary.
In Warren, Tina Pershing said it was "a toss up" between the two candidates but she chose Levin. "His ideas seemed more fleshed out, and he seemed to take a stronger stance about equal pay," Pershing said.
The district includes Ferndale, Oak Park, Royal Oak, Hazel Park, St.Clair Shores, Warren, Bloomfield, and Sterling Heights. There are more district voters in the Oakland County area of the district, which voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, than in the Macomb County area.
The 57-year-old Levin, of Bloomfield Township, received the backing of high-powered unions such as the United Auto Workers and many party establishment officials, including his dad and uncle, former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit.
Lipton, a 51-year-old patent lawyer from Huntington Woods, is endorsed by Democratic abortion rights group Emily's List, has raised more than $1 million.
Martin Brook, a labor and employment law attorney from Bloomfield Township and former Bloomfield Hills school board member, also ran on a progressive platform, helping define the tone of the Democratic primary.
Levin has criticized Trump for slapping a 25 percent tariff on some foreign-made steel and a 10 percent levy on aluminum. But he also condemns elected officials who "overlook American workers' justifiable frustration over the series of bad trade deals and economic policies pursued by China and others that led to Trump’s tariff action."
Lipton was less specific, arguing that she would "support international trade policies that prioritize the American worker" and "oppose any law that makes it easier for powerful corporations to take jobs away from and drive down wages for hardworking Americans."
Levin has embraced U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare-for-all plan as a way to extend health care coverage to all Americans.
Lipton also has campaigned on Medicare for all but also has railed against the charter school movement championed by Betsy DeVos, the Grand Rapids billionaire and current U.S. education secretary. She was a critic of charter schools when she served three terms in the state House until 2014.
Levin also has criticized DeVos as he has promised to bolster public education.
Lipton has said she has had a form of multiple sclerosis since age 27 and has been fortunate enough to have health insurance that paid for her medication. But her experience with multiple sclerosis MS — a disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information between the brain and body — has taught her that health care is "too important a right to be left to chance or luck."
Lipton supported Sanders in the Michigan primary and Clinton in the general election.
Levin and Lipton said voters often bring up the issue of fixing Michigan's crumbling roads and bridges. They argue that the state's $1.2 billion phased-in aid package isn't working quickly enough to deal with the infrastructure problems.
Both favor more federal aid to jump-start major infrastructure repairs on roads, bridges, sewers and ports.
The primary winner will face Republican Candius Stearns of Sterling Heights in the fall election.