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Republican Liz Cheney endorses Democrat Elissa Slotkin in toss-up mid-Michigan congressional race

 “If the people in our party are not doing the job they need to do, then we’re going to vote for the people in the other party because we are Americans above all else,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as she endorsed Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) in East Lansing
Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
“If the people in our party are not doing the job they need to do, then we’re going to vote for the people in the other party because we are Americans above all else,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as she endorsed Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) in East Lansing

A former top Republican was in Michigan Tuesday to campaign for a Democrat in the midst of a tough re-election campaign.

“I couldn’t be more proud to welcome Liz Cheney to the stage,” mid-Michigan Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin said, introducing the Wyoming Representative at an event Tuesday night in East Lansing.

Republican Cheney was there to endorse Democrat Slotkin, something that both acknowledged was unusual.

Cheney said Slotkin is the first Democrat she’s ever endorsed. But she told the crowd of about 600 at East Lansing High School that it’s time to look beyond politics and party lines.

“If the people in our party are not doing the job they need to do, then we’re going to vote for the people in the other party because we are Americans above all else,” said Cheney.

Cheney — once the third-highest-ranking House Republican — has run afoul of other members for her party by criticizing former President Donald Trump and voted to impeach him. Cheney has also been a leading figure on the congressional committee investigating the January 6 riot at the nation’s capital.

Cheney’s strident attacks on Trump led to her losing her position in the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives. She also was soundly defeated in the Republican primary for her congressional seat in Wyoming.

Tuesday, Slotkin’s GOP challenger Tom Barrett and other Republicans blasted Cheney for siding with Slotkin in an election seen as a toss-up — and also one of the country's most expensive.

Barrett said Cheney and Slotkin represent the “establishment” in Washington D.C.

“The phony idea that Elissa Slotkin and Liz Cheney are now part of some non-partisan coalition together — the only thing they brought us is the misery that we’re feeling right now,” said Barrett, who blamed the two for an ongoing lack of accountability for the Taliban returning to power in Afghanistan.

Barrett said he expects the Cheney endorsement will cost Slotkin more votes than it generates.

Slotkin said she believes independents in her mid-Michigan district will appreciate two people, from different places politically, willing to work together. She said she doubts Republicans who are angry at Cheney would vote for her anyway. And Progressives angry at her for being endorsed by a Cheney would vote for someone else.

In the end, Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin said, while she and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney disagree on a lot, there is one thing they do agree on.

“Preserving American democracy,” Slotkin told the audience, “The thing that all of us here, and the two of us, desperately, desperately love.”

Copyright 2022 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting. During his two and a half decades in broadcasting, Steve has won numerous awards, including accolades from the Associated Press and Radio and Television News Directors Association. Away from the broadcast booth, Steve is an avid reader and movie fanatic. Q&A