“Haley Stevens has dedicated her career to creating good-paying jobs in Michigan, and will be a champion for working families in Congress,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján. “During the Great Recession, Stevens helped lead the Auto Task Force, which saved 211,000 Michigan jobs, and has led on initiatives to advance digital manufacturing and STEM education programs. In Congress, she’ll work to grow our economy, lower healthcare costs, and protect our Great Lakes.”
To: Interested Parties
From: Rachel Irwin, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: August 8
RE: The Case Against Lena Epstein
These primary results in Michigan’s 11th District set up a competitive race between first-time candidate Haley Stevens and political insider Lena Epstein.
With the retirement of moderate Rep. Dave Trott leaving this seat open, Stevens represents the best pick-up opportunity for Democrats to flip this seat in 6 years. As the former Chief of Staff in President Obama’s auto task force, Stevens has been on the frontlines of creating jobs in Michigan and supporting innovation programs that train the next generation of workers.
Epstein on the other hand, is a party insider and former co-chair of President Trump’s campaign, who has already wrapped her arms around the GOP’s most harmful policies, like raising healthcare costs and taxes on the middle class. She’s also a staunch support of Betsy DeVos, who remains toxic among Michigan voters.
With energy and momentum on the side of Democrats this fall, Stevens is best positioned to win this open seat and get to work on behalf of Michigan’s working families.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Cook Political Report Headline: “Trott Retirement Moves MI-11 from Likely Republican to Toss Up” [Cook Political Report, 9/11/17]
Roll Call Headline: “Ratings Change: 5 GOP Open House Seats Shift Toward Democrats” “This [MI-11] is the type of district Republicans will likely struggle to hold in this environment” [Roll Call, 3/15/18]
Detroit Free Press Headline: “Races for Michigan’s 8th and 11th districts are seats to watch in the midterm elections” “Michigan’s 8th and 11th districts, reliably Republican, for the most part, for more than a decade, are not typically considered fertile ground for Democratic challenges. But because of several factors — strong candidates and fund-raising and a suburban electorate that may be looking for change — these districts could be bellwethers of Democratic chances this year to take back the U.S. House of Representatives.” [Detroit Free Press, 2/8/18]
Detroit News Headline: “GOP fight for 11th District U.S. House seat goes negative” [Detroit News, 7/28/18]
Detroit Free Press Editorial Headline: “Stevens … offer Dems best chance to flip red seats” [Detroit Free Press (Editorial), 7/27/18]
Epstein on the Hook Supporting GOP’s Harmful Agenda
Epstein is a true partisan who will put her loyalty to her Party ahead of Michiganders. Epstein supports a tax plan that gives massive tax breaks to big corporations, like her family’s oil company which she co-owns, even though the plan makes millions of middle class families pay more over time and adds $1.9 trillion to the national debt. This gives Epstein and Republicans an opportunity to revisit their favorite topic of cutting Social Security and Medicare. And when it comes to seniors, Epstein is already on the record wanting to raise the retirement age to 70.
Epstein is all in supporting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, calling her “phenomenal,” even though DeVos’ agenda slashes public education funding at the federal level and eliminates billions of dollars in funding for debt-relief programs to help kids pay for college.
Healthcare Top of Mind for Voters
Healthcare continues to be a top issue for voters going into 2018. While Epstein and Republicans will continue to attack Michiganders’ access to affordable healthcare, Stevens is making lowering costs a top priority. Stevens will stand up against attacks to gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions and will work with either Party to bring costs down. She’ll also protect Social Security and Medicare and defend the benefits that seniors have paid into their whole lives.
Epstein is already on the record supporting the Republican tax plan that would hike health insurance premiums, even though they are already set to rise by 27% in Michigan this year. In addition to raising premiums, Epstein supports the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that slaps an age tax on older Americans, guts pre-existing condition protections and jeopardizes health insurance for 47,700 in her district.
Time and time again, Epstein has failed to stand up to her Party and their ongoing attempts to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and she can’t be trusted to stand up for Michiganders’ access to affordable healthcare.
Epstein the No-Show
When Lena Epstein isn’t jumping from one political campaign to the next, she’s failing to show up for her meetings at the Michigan Children’s Trust Fund. Republicans were quick to point out that Epstein allegedly missed 87% of her meetings.
Republicans in the Primary were also quick to call out Epstein for not currently living in the district, while being registered to vote in the 9th District and dumping in her own money to buy her place on the ballot.
Michigan voters can count on Stevens to show up and fight for them, while Epstein has been a no-show and jumped from campaign to campaign for her own political gain.
THE PATH TO VICTORY
With Rep. Dave Trott’s retirement, Michigan’s 11th District opened up a top pick-up opportunity for Democrats this November. This is a suburban district with the highest percentage of college-educated voters in the state, giving Democrats inroads to make the case among swing voters. Senators Stabenow and Peters won this district in 2014 and 2012, and Hillary Clinton performed better than President Obama in 2012, showing the demographics of this district moving toward Democrats.
With a history of Democratic victories and an electorate that is moving towards Democrats, this seat is primed to flip in 2018. Election forecasters Inside Elections, CNN, and Cook Political Report have all shifted this race in favor of Democrats. And new polling shows Trump underwater in Michigan, with Democrats leading in Congressional preference by 9 points. The momentum and energy on the ground was felt in the competitive primary among Democrats with a battle-tested Stevens emerging in a strong position heading into November.
With a race between Epstein and Stevens, Michiganders will have a clear choice in Stevens, who has a proven track record of fighting for good jobs and lower healthcare costs.