Cheney endorses Slotkin in key U.S. House race, will campaign with her in Lansing next week

By: - October 28, 2022 8:45 am

U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney (L) and Elissa Slotkin (R) | Getty Images and Andrew Roth photos

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who helps lead the Jan. 6 committee and has become an outcast from the Republican Party over her high-profile criticism of former President Donald Trump, has endorsed U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) — and will campaign for the Democrat next week.

Slotkin is the first Democrat to earn the support of Cheney, who recently lost her bid for re-election to Congress after being soundly defeated by a Trump-endorsed candidate in the August primary. Cheney is the daughter of GOP former Vice President and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

Liz Cheney announced her support Thursday morning for the two-term House member and will join Slotkin in the Lansing-area for a public event Tuesday dubbed an “Evening for Patriotism and Bipartisanship.”

Cheney said that while she and Slotkin have policy differences, now is not the time to focus on them.

“At a time when our nation is facing threats at home and abroad, we need serious, responsible, substantive members like Elissa in Congress. I encourage all voters in the 7th district – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents – to support her in this election.”

Sen. Tom Barrett | Casey Hull photo

Slotkin is being challenged by state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) for the newly drawn 7th Congressional District, which is centered around Lansing and includes all of Ingham, Livingston, Shiawassee and Clinton counties, as well as most of Eaton County and smaller sections of Oakland and Genesee counties.

Cheney and Slotkin both serve on the House Armed Services Committee. Slotkin is a former CIA and Defense Department official who worked during both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. 

Both have been vocal critics of House Republicans who have sought to downplay the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Cheney is vice chair of the House Jan. 6 committee, which recently issued a subpoena for Trump to testify.

“I’m proud to endorse Elissa Slotkin,” said Cheney. “Serving together on the Armed Services Committee, I have come to know Elissa as a good and honorable public servant who works hard for the people she represents, wants what’s best for the country, and is in this for the right reasons.”

Slotkin emphasized the critical nature of the moment in welcoming the endorsement.

“At a moment when the very heart of our democracy is being challenged, Rep. Cheney’s voice has been critical,” said Slotkin. “I’m grateful for her support in this race and I’m proud of the work we’ve done together to strengthen our national security and America’s role in the world.”

Slotkin added that it is “engaged citizens and principled leaders” that have historically helped the nation through tough times.

“Rep. Cheney has shown tremendous leadership over the last two years, and while we certainly don’t agree on every issue, I look forward to welcoming her to Michigan’s 7th district next week to discuss the points where all Americans can leave politics aside and put our country above all else,” she said.

Earlier this month, another GOP Jan. 6 committee member, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) announced he was endorsing Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson over Republican challenger Kristina Karamo.

“Now more than ever, it’s critical we elect leaders up and down the ballot who are loyal to the Constitution and willing to be a bulwark for democracy – regardless of their political party affiliation,” Kinzinger said. “We must set partisan politics and ideology aside in order to preserve our nation’s democracy and demand accountability in our leaders.”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks at the Michigan Democratic Party’s nominating convention in Lansing on Aug. 21, 2022. (Andrew Roth | Michigan Advance)

Karamo has been a vocal election denier and has spread conspiracies that Trump won the 2020 election, which he did not. Barrett also has questioned the 2020 election results as one of 11 senators who signed onto a 2021 letter urging members of Congress to examine baseless claims of voter fraud.

In response to Cheney’s announcement, Barrett, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, sent a series of tweets calling Cheney and Slotkin, “Warhawks … standing together because I oppose their senseless thirst for more foreign entanglements.”

Barrett then referenced Slotkin’s earlier stance that she “would be ready to engage” if China invaded Taiwan, while simultaneously taking a swipe at Dick Cheney, one of the key architects of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“Congresswoman Slotkin says she would engage with China to fight a war with American troops in Asia,” said Barrett. “It’s no surprise the Cheney family would join her. Slotkin can keep Cheney while I work to keep America out of war.”

The Associated Press says the race is considered a toss-up by both sides and is one of the Republicans’ chief targets in their campaign to win the House majority on Nov. 8. 

The contest is considered the most expensive House race in the country, with an estimated $27 million spent by both campaigns and outside groups.

Slotkin campaign spokesperson Lynsey Mukomel told the Michigan Advance they are taking nothing for granted.

“We’re closing the campaign the same we started it: by leaving no voter behind and making the positive case about Representative Slotkin’s commitment to bipartisanship and service to our country,” she said. “We always knew this race would be close, and our campaign will be running hard through the tape.”

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.

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