Attendees braved rain and wind in Charlotte on Friday to hear former vice president Mike Pence endorse congressional candidate Michigan Sen. Tom Barrett.
Barrett’s race against incumbent Rep. Elissa Slotkin has become the most expensive congressional race of the 2022 cycle, clocking in at over $27 million as of mid-October. In his speech, Pence emphasized the importance of the 7th District for Republicans hoping to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The path to a Republican majority goes right through this district,” Pence said.
Pence’s trip to Charlotte comes just days after Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming endorsed Slotkin in East Lansing. Barrett, who had called Slotkin and Cheney “warmongers,” said that he would rather have Pence’s support than Cheney’s.
“When I went to Iraq, I never expected that when I came home, Dick Cheney's daughter would come to my district on the eve of this election to endorse my Democrat opponent in the race that's going to decide which party is in control of Congress,” Barrett said. “The Cheney family never saw a war they wouldn't send other people's kids to go fight.”
Barrett and Slotkin’s race is predicted to be tight come Election Day. The 7th District, while leaning conservative, does not have a clear party allegiance. It voted for former president Donald Trump in 2016, but likely would have voted for President Joe Biden in 2020.
Barrett acknowledged the district’s unique nature and said that he’s used to the nail-biting side of election season.
“I remember this moment, just days before the election, we were in this neck-and-neck fight the whole time,” Barrett said in reference to his run for the Michigan Senate in 2018. “I was challenging an incumbent Democrat and we were out there working hard. And on election night, I won by exactly 148 votes.”
When asked if he’d accept the results of the election, regardless of the outcome, Barrett didn’t answer. The senator had previously called for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to combat voter fraud without evidence in the 2020 elections.
In their speeches both Barrett and Pence called on the crowd to not only elect a Republican to the 7th District’s seat, but to “fire” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and restore a GOP majority to Congress.
“The progress we made under the Trump administration could not have happened without the support of the people of Michigan,” Pence said. “But how times have changed. We stand here today in the wake of the disastrous policies of the Biden-Harris administration at home and abroad.”
Country Mill, the event's venue, has made headlines in recent years due to its lawsuit against the City of East Lansing. The city denied the farm a vendor's license at the East Lansing farmer's market after owner Steve Tennes said in a 2016 Facebook post that he would refuse to host any same-sex marriages on his property.
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