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Thumb-area congressman quits Republican Party, cites Trump’s election battle

Congressman Paul Mitchell did not run for a third term and will conclude his work in the House next month
FILE - In this July 24, 2019 file photo, Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., speaks on Capitol Hill...
FILE - In this July 24, 2019 file photo, Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Mitchell, a second-term Republican will not seek re-election to Congress in 2020. Mitchell's spokesman said Wednesday, July, 24, 2019, that he'll announce his retirement in a floor speech. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (WILX)
Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 4:50 PM EST
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - Congressman Paul Mitchell will spend the final weeks of his career outside the Republican Party.

The long-time Republican, who has represented the northern Detroit suburbs and Thumb Region in Congress for four years, announced Monday that he is quitting the party. He will be listed as an independent in Congress until the end of his term in January.

Mitchell wrote a letter to Republican leadership saying that he is disgusted with President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the Nov. 3 election results.

In the letter to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Mitchell said he believes the Trump campaign’s battle to discredit election results will lead to long-term and irreparable harm to American democracy.

Mitchell said he appreciates Trump’s work as president and pointed out the he voted for Trump administration policies 95% of the time over the past four years. He believes Trump lost Michigan by 154,000 votes on Nov. 3 due to eroding support in Kent and Oakland counties rather than due to rampant fraud the campaign has alleged in Wayne County.

“It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust in something so basic as the sanctity of our vote,” Mitchell wrote in his letter.

He also accused Republican leaders of participating in and supporting Trump’s efforts, which he fears may lead to “long-term harm to our democracy.”

Mitchell, who owns a farm in Dryden, did not run for re-election on Nov. 3. Republican Lisa McClain of Macomb County’s Clinton Township beat Democrat Kim Bizon of Lexington to keep the 10th Congressional District seat under GOP control for two more years.

Mitchell first was elected to Congress in 2016 and he easily won re-election in 2018.

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