Ex-Michigan congressman who quit GOP over Trump claim dies


DRYDEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A former Michigan congressman who quit the Republican Party to protest GOP efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump has died.

Paul Mitchell died Sunday, according to a statement his family provided to CNN. He was 64.

In June, Mitchell told radio station WJR that he had been diagnosed with renal cancer.

Mitchell, of Lapeer County’s Dryden Township, served two terms representing the 10th District in Michigan’s Thumb region but did not seek reelection in 2020 — citing a desire to focus on his family and expressing frustration with his time in Washington.

Word of his death prompted elected leaders on both sides of the aisle to release statements remembering him as a principled representative and offering condolences to his family:

“Congressman Paul Mitchell was a fierce, independent voice for Michiganders. Throughout his tenure in the United States Congress, 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. After an incredibly successful career in the private sector, Paul entered public life, channeling his passion for people and innovative mind to help his neighbors and community succeed. He embodied values that we all aspire to have—he was independent, witty, and principled. Simply put, he was Paul, a joyful warrior for the people he believed in and for Michigan, the place that he loved. My thoughts are with Paul’s family, his six kids, six grandkids, his staff, and all those who were lucky enough to call him a friend. Paul, we will miss you.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

“Paul Mitchell was a friend who passionately fought for his constituents and Michigan. Paul said what he meant and meant what he said. Sadly, cancer has claimed another life too soon. My prayers go out to the entire Mitchell family during this time of loss.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland

“Paul was a friend and sometimes ‘friendly foe’ who was always consistent in his values and actions.

“He had an outsized voice that will surely be missed. Paul was my kind of guy — he always told you what he thought, straight up. My heart goes out to the Mitchell family for their loss. God bless you, Paul.”

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake

“I am deeply saddened to learn of Congressman Mitchell’s passing – a public servant who will be remembered for standing up for our democracy. Paul refused to throw away his integrity to earn political points, and while we may have disagreed on many issues, I will always respect and admire him for his commitment to doing what was right until the very end. My thoughts remain with his loved ones.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

—News 8 contributed to this report.

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