Michigan Democrats Haley Stevens, Andy Levin to face off in incumbent primary battle amid redistricting

What happens to Paul Whelan?

That's the question that Congresswoman Haley Stevens said is top of her mind as she weighs both the global tensions happening in Russia as well as her reelection prospects at home. 

The Oakland County Democrat said Whelan's safety is getting renewed urgency as potential conflict looms in eastern Europe, where the U.S. is warning Russia could be invading Ukraine in a bid to reclaim land that used to be part of the country decades ago.

"His family is now asking me if this invasion takes place and our relationship with Russia breaks down even more, what happens to Paul Whelan?" Stevens said. "We have seen Russia pursuing bad actions like what they did with Paul Whelan. This step of invading Ukraine would really cross the line and something we all need to take seriously."

Whelan, inflation, gas prices, and jobs are all part of the discourse taking shape ahead of the 2022 Midterm races in Michigan, which promises its own dose of political uncertainty due to redistricting that has potential to sway electoral majorities at both the state and congressional level.

It also has a chance of pitting incumbents against once another as boundaries are shaken up. 

In one brewing race, incumbent Democrats Stevens and Andy Levin will be facing off in Michigan's newly drawn 11th District. It encompasses many of Stevens constituents she already serves.

"This is an Oakland County-exclusive district. Out of everyone in the Michigan delegation, I've always represented the largest portion of Oakland County," said Stevens.

RELATED: Republican candidates urge Michigan poll workers to bring guns to polls, unplug voting machines 

But for Levin, who currently represents the 9th District and would see between 65-70% of his original constituents redrawn into the newly-outlined 10th District, defended his decision to run in the 11th. 

"I just feel like we have to honor the process. We all chose to pass a constitutional amendment and left the drawing to the districts up to this new citizen commission," he said on FOX 2 last week. 

While no prominent Democrats have announced plans to run in the 10th, former Republican Senate candidate John James said last week he planned to run for the position.  

RELATED: John James throws hat back into Michigan politics

A breakdown of the new districts shows:

  • District 10 would include areas of southern Macomb County, like Utica, Sterling Heights, Warren, Eastpointe, St. Clair Shores, as well as parts of Oakland County like Rochester
  • District 11 would include parts of southern Oakland County, like Ferndale, Oak Park, Royal Oak, Madison Heights, and Troy. It also includes communities like Farmington, Walled Lake, Wixom, and Bloomfield Hills.