Thursday, February 2, 2023

A week from Election Day, Liz Cheney comes to East Lansing to stump for Slotkin

November 2, 2022
State Rep. Liz Cheney speaks out during State Rep. Elissa Slotkin's campaign rally at East Lansing High School on Nov. 1, 2022. State Rep. Liz Cheney endorses Slotkin at this campaign rally.
State Rep. Liz Cheney speaks out during State Rep. Elissa Slotkin's campaign rally at East Lansing High School on Nov. 1, 2022. State Rep. Liz Cheney endorses Slotkin at this campaign rally. —
Photo by Sonya Barlow | The State News

U.S Rep. Liz Cheney and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin both admitted onstage at East Lansing High School Tuesday night that two years ago, doing a joint campaign event would have seemed ridiculous.

A public figure like Cheney, the third-highest ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, to travel across the country to campaign for Slotkin, a liberal, pro-choice congresswoman running against a conservative military veteran, turned the heads of many Michigan voters this week. Approximately 600 people crowded into the gym at ELHS for what Slotkin’s campaign called an “evening of bipartisanship.”

Both representatives said that in spite of their differences, holding an event together seemed like the right thing to do. 

“This is, by the way, the first time I have ever campaigned for a Democrat and I have to tell you that it was not a hard decision at all,” Cheney said.

The last time Cheney was in the Lansing area, it was for a series of media appearances in opposition to actions Slotkin had made in Congress. She said that the time she spent working alongside Slotkin in the House Armed Services Committee gave her a healthy respect for Slotkin’s expertise in national security.

“Anytime that I know I'm about to get into a debate with Elissa, I know I better be prepared,” Cheney said. “Because I know she will – I know she will have done her homework.”

The visit from Cheney comes at a critical time for Slotkin’s campaign. A week out from Election Day, Slotkin is most recently polling six points ahead of her Republican challenger, Tom Barrett. The 7th District, where Slotkin and Barrett are running, voted for former president Donald Trump in 2016, but likely would have voted for President Joe Biden in 2020.

Slotkin said Cheney approached her in the last week of voting in the House in September and asked if she could support Slotkin’s campaign in any way. Slotkin also said she was asked several times if campaigning with Cheney could be potentially detrimental to her campaign, but said that she was confident in her decision to hold the event. 

“While we are in one of the tightest races in the country, it is a toss-up, and we will not know the day after the election who won. I feel confident in this decision, because this country needs more than what it's getting right now,” Slotkin said.

The major theme of the event was bipartisanship in a post Jan. 6, 2021 America. Both representatives spoke at length about their experiences during the Capital riot and how it brought them together. Cheney’s involvement as chairwoman of the Select Committee to investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capital is widely believed to have cost her re-election in a primary against Harriet Hageman.

Slotkin said that she gained a deeper respect for Cheney while observing her behavior on Jan. 6, praising her ability to stand up to GOP leaders and former president Trump in the face of losing her position. 

“She had called on the president to please stand down on violence, call back the protesters,” Slotkin said. “She had started exerting that bravery that we have seen since that day.”

Both representatives spoke about how Jan. 6 changed their views on bipartisanship. Cheney said that for the first time in her career, she feels compelled to look beyond Republican candidates. 

“If we want to ensure the survival of our republic, we have to walk away from politics as usual,” Cheney said. “We're going to vote for the people in the other party.”

Cheney also encouraged voters from across the political spectrum to cast their ballots for Slotkin on Nov. 8.

“The chips are down for us,” Cheney said. “This is our time of testing. Not a single one of us in this room and not a single one of us across this country can be a bystander.”

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