Elissa Slotkin Is Running Against GOP Election Denial

by | Nov 7, 2022 | Politics

EAST LANSING, Mich. ― Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) wagered that her constituents would put patriotism before partisanship once before. And she won.Now she’s making that bet again.The last time was in late 2019, as House Democrats were gearing up to impeach President Donald Trump. Slotkin’s vote was critical to the effort, she hadn’t declared her intentions, and she was representing a Republican-leaning congressional district that in the 2016 election had voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton by 7 percentage points. AdvertisementBut Slotkin is a former intelligence officer who served in Iraq and went on to serve on the national security staffs of two presidents. She was convinced Trump had violated his presidential oath by pressuring a foreign leader to investigate a political rival and then attempting to cover it up. She announced that she was voting yes on impeachment, then a few hours later defended that vote at a raucous town hall where Trump supporters tried to shout her down.In a performance that got national attention, Slotkin responded calmly and directly, saying that she wanted to hear from critics while making clear she wouldn’t be bullied or booed off the stage. She continued making her case and, although the hecklers kept at it, by the time she was done she had won over the crowd and gotten several standing ovations.“I believe in the voters,” she told HuffPost afterward in an interview. “I believe in their decency.” A year later, the voters rewarded that belief when they returned Slotkin to Congress. Now it’s election time again, and Slotkin is locked in a tight race with Tom Barrett, a Republican state senator.AdvertisementPolls suggest the race could go either way. Analysts across the country are watching it as a bellwether for the country’s mood, and both parties have it at the top of their priority lists, with so much advertising money pouring in that it is among the most expensive congressional races in America.At a Nov. 1 campaign event in East Lansing, Michigan, Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan (left) looks on as GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming makes a plea for supporting candidates like Slotkin who are committed to democracy and recognizing election results.JEFF KOWALSKY via Getty ImagesThe constituencies in play have changed a bit. Redistricting in 2020 scrambled congressional lines, breaking up Slotkin’s old district. Her new one, Michigan’s 7th, is slightly more Democratic. But it’s still a swing district. In 2020, according to the Detroit Free Press, voters in what’s now Michigan’s 7th split their tickets, voting for the Democrat (Joe Biden) in the presidential race but the Republican (John James) in the U.S. Senate race. In both instances, the final count was close.Slotkin has some advantages from incumbency, but the voters are also familiar with Barrett, a former Army helicopter pilot and Iraq War veteran who has been in the state legislature since 2015. Slotkin is also running in a national political environment that remains, by most reckonings, difficult for Democrats, given voter concerns about inflation and crime. AdvertisementThe campaign has featured clashes on a number of issues, including abortion rights, which Slotkin supports and Barrett opposes. But as in 2019, basic questions about democracy and fair elections may ultimately be the issues that determine her political fate.Only this time, the focus isn’t on impeachment. It’s on Barrett’s election denialism.Slotkin’s Opponent Is A Republican Election DenierIn the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election, Barrett posted on social media about alleged ballot irregularities and was part of a delegation of Republican state legislators who traveled to Washington to confer with Trump.In January 2021, one day before the insurrection in Washington, Barrett’s signature appeared on a letter from Michigan Republicans asking Congress to “pursue every available option” for investigating possible voter fraud.An earlier version of the letter that circulated on social m …

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