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Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell won’t seek third term in 2020

Republican says vitriol in Congress is overwhelming ability to set policy

Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell is not running for re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell is not running for re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell won’t be running for a third term in 2020, saying he’s frustrated with how politics dominates policy in Congress.

Elected to an open seat in 2016, Mitchell is the sophomore representative in GOP leadership. He represents the 10th District, a safe Republican seat that President Donald Trump carried by 32 points.

Mitchell first discussed his decision to retire with Politico. He said he wants to spend more time with a 9-year-old son with special needs. The two-term congressman plans to announce his retirement in remarks on the House floor later on Wednesday. 

“You look at the rhetoric and vitriol, it overwhelms policy, politics becomes the norm. Everything’s about politics. Everything’s about an election. And at some point of time, that’s not why I came here,” Mitchell told Politico.

Earlier this month, Mitchell criticized Trump’s racist tweets about four Democratic congresswomen, saying “those comments are beneath leaders.”

The former CEO of Ross Education, which provides medical and vocational training, Mitchell won a four-way primary in 2016 to replace retiring Rep. Candice S. Miller, who could be interested in making a return to Congress. The previous cycle, Mitchell spent millions of dollars of his own money on an unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination in the 4th District, now represented by Rep. John Molenaar.

Miller, was elected Macomb County Public Works commissioner in 2016, had harsh words for her successor on Wednesday, saying his “comments on his departure from Congress leave something to be desired.”

“I would have appreciated seeing some recognition of the great people of the 10th District — good, decent, hardworking people who sent him to Washington DC on their behalf,” Miller said in a statement.

“Reading his rant in Politico is not the best way to find out your Member of Congress is not seeking re-election,” she added.

Asked about Miller’s plans, a spokesman said Wednesday afternoon she “will not be commenting further at this time.”

Besides Miller, who held the seat for 14 years, other Republicans who could eye this seat include state Sen. Pete Lucido, who would be the favorite in a primary if Miller doesn’t run, state Rep. Shane Hernandez, and state Sens. Mike MacDonald, Dan Lauwers, Kevin Daley and Phil Pavlov, who lost to Mitchell in the 2016 primary. Retired Brig. Gen. John Slocum, who commanded the Air National Guard Base in Selfridge, is also well-regarded and may be interested in running. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 10th District Solid Republican

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