Aug 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Former GOP Rep. Paul Mitchell, who left party over Trump's false election claims, dies

Former GOP Rep. Paul Mitchell

Rep. Paul Mitchell in Washington, D.C., in 2018. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Former Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell has died at age 64 after a battle with renal cancer, his family said in a statement provided to CNN on Monday.

The big picture: Mitchell, who hailed from Michigan, left the GOP in 2020 due to efforts to overturn the election and former President Donald Trump's false election fraud claims.

  • He was one of the few Republicans who acknowledged then President-elect Biden's win. He then finished his term as an independent.
  • "It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote," Mitchell said last December.

Background: Mitchell was a businessman before first running for office in 2014. He lost but went on to represent Michigan's 10th congressional district after winning the 2016 and 2018 elections. In 2019, Mitchell announced he would not be running for a third term due to D.C.'s political climate.

What they're saying:

  • Sherry Mitchell, Paul Mitchell's wife: "He was the lone voice in a sea of politicians who cared more about power than the true definition of the office."
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: "He led with his values and always spoke out for what he felt was right, even when he had to go against his own party, the president, or conventional political wisdom."
  • Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich): "[Mitchell] was a trooper to the very end. He was always ready to fight on principle and was never afraid of the politics... he had grown very tired of the gridlock in Washington and always wanted to make a difference and that is what he did."
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