Pence stumps for Barrett, stresses inflation, border security and military support

By: - November 4, 2022 7:06 pm

State Sen. Tom Barrett and Vice President Mike Pence in Charlotte, Nov. 4, 2022 | Kyle Davidson

Former Vice President Mike Pence joined Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) on Friday for a “Flip the House” event in his hometown. 

Barrett is in a heated race against U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) in the 7th Congressional District, which includes Clinton, Ingham, Livingston and Shiawassee counties, most of Eaton County and parts of Oakland and Genesee counties.

Barrett stood beside his family while he discussed gas prices, inflation and immigration policy.

“We’re 1,500 miles right here in Charlotte, Mich., from the southern border, and we’re a border town because of the spread of fentanyl,” Barrett said. 

At an earlier event in Brighton with Republican gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon, Barrett spoke out against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders during the early COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the Biden administration’s immigration policies. 

“I think Gretchen should be Joe Biden’s next border czar. Because she’s really good at shutting things down. So I say we send Gretchen to the border, and we elect Tudor as our next governor,” Barrett said. 

Barrett, a 22-year U.S. Army veteran, also criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. He acknowledged Slotkin’s endorsement from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) — who stumped for the Democrat this week in Lansing — while speaking out against American involvement in “endless wars.”

“You know, the Cheney family never saw a war they wouldn’t send other people’s kids to go fight,” Barrett said in reference to Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. 

 

“I want to keep our men and women home, and I want to keep our American troops safe. We need to have a strong defense that supports our allies. That doesn’t mean that we fight every country’s wars with our troops,” Barrett said.

While campaigning for Slotkin in Lansing, Liz Cheney brought up her former boss, President Gerald Ford, who was from Grand Rapids.

“I thought as I came here today, what would Jerry Ford think? And I think that Jerry Ford would be supporting Elissa Slotkin,” Cheney said.

Barrett also touted his own endorsement from former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard while speaking with reporters after the event. Gabbard, who ran for president as a Democrat in 2020, exited the Democratic Party in October and has been campaigning for several Republicans, including Dixon. 

“Tulsi Gabbard and I are trying to keep Americans out of war,” Barrett said. “We’re proud to have that endorsement.” 

Slotkin’s campaign responded to this endorsement with a statement noting previous comments from Gabbard defending Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and characterizing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as an authoritarian.

The campaign also noted Pence’s and Barrett’s shared beliefs against same-sex marriage and support for a national abortion ban. Slotkin supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

In his own speech, Pence emphasized Barrett’s ties to Eaton County and touted Trump’s tax cuts and the administration’s military support.

Pence also applauded Trump’s appointment of right-wing Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett and the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

Rep. Elissa Slotkin talks to reporters after her town hall at Oakland University | Laina G. Stebbins

Pence and Barrett both slammed Slotkin for her voting record in support of the Biden administration’s policies. 

“My opponent has voted in direct lockstep with Joe Biden for every one of his failed policies and that stops on Tuesday with every one of you here,” Barrett said.

Pence also encouraged voters to tell their neighbors about Barrett and to support Dixon, although he did not campaign with her Friday. 

“Vote for Tom Barrettt and while you’re at it send Tudor Dixon to the statehouse as your new governor,” Pence said.

When asked if American citizens could have faith in Tuesday’s election results, Pence evaded the question. Barrett also dodged a question about how he would respond if he wasn’t declared the winner on Tuesday or Wednesday, cutting off the State News reporter who asked the question. 

“We’re going to win; don’t be pessimistic,” Barrett said. 

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Kyle Davidson
Kyle Davidson

Kyle Davidson is a reporting intern for the Michigan Advance. A recent MSU graduate, Kyle studied journalism and political science. He has reported on community events, breaking news, state policy, and the environment for outlets including the Lansing State Journal, the Detroit Free Press and Capital News Service.

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