GOP keeps up attacks on Stevens, Slotkin over impeachment inquiry

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Livonia — The state Republican Party continued to attack Democratic U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens on Tuesday for her support of the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump as it seeks to flip her seat back to GOP control.

Michigan Republican Chairwoman Laura Cox and about 35 Trump supporters held a news conference here at the Rochester Hills Democrat's office to highlight what they call Stevens’ opposition to the president and the White House's agenda in favor of what she termed a “witch-hunt.”

Michigan Republican Chairwoman Laura Cox

More events also are planned against U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, the other freshman who flipped a Republican seat in 2018, since the GOP consider the two first-term Democrats to be vulnerable in 2020.

“They’re kind of sucked up into this political witch hunt, and the folks are very frustrated,” Cox said of voters in Stevens’ 11th and Slotkin’s 8th congressional districts. 

“We’re making sure that they know how frustrated people are and they want to make sure that they hear how frustrated they are,” said the GOP chairwoman, who is a former state lawmaker from Livonia who lives in the 11th district. “We feel that they should be working on legislation means something to people in Michigan in the 11th and the 8th.”

Michigan Republican Chairwoman Laura Cox and about 35 Trump supporters held a news conference at the Rochester Hills Democrat's office to highlight what they call Stevens’ opposition to the president and the White House's agenda in favor of what she termed a “witch-hunt.”

The leader of the Michigan Democratic Party struck back.

"Haley Stevens and Elissa Slotkin have fought relentlessly to grow Michigan's manufacturing economy, lower the cost of prescription drugs, and make sure every Michigander can get the skills and support they need to thrive," party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes said.

"Instead of playing desperate partisan politics, Laura Cox should focus on deciding whether she will continue covering for Donald Trump's flailing, corrupt administration or join those, including from her own party, like Mitt Romney, who have decided that enough is enough and our country comes first."

Stevens has said she made the decision to pursue an impeachment inquiry "out of a sober obligation to stand up for the rule of law and our national security." Slotkin has said she supports an inquiry into Trump's dealings with the new Ukrainian president because they may represent a potential threat to national security and corruption.

The two congresswomen should be working with Trump on lowering prescription drug prices and protecting the Great Lakes, “working on things that are important to Michigan," Cox said.

Stevens' office responded by noting that the former Obama administration official is providing "first-rate constituent services."

"“Rep. Stevens opens her door to constituents throughout the district to help Michigan families resolve issues with the federal government," said Stevens spokesman Blake McCarren, referring to tax refunds and resolves government benefit issues. "So far, Rep. Stevens is proud to have assisted nearly 500 families in her district while returning more than $625,000 to taxpayers,"

"...Rep. Stevens remains laser-focused on issues that matter to Michigan families including lowering the cost of healthcare, growing the manufacturing economy, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure.” 

Slotkin's office noted the Holly Democrat held a Monday constituent meeting in Rochester on lowering prescription drug prices. 

“As Rep. Slotkin has done throughout her life of service to our country, she made the decision to support an impeachment inquiry based on her commitment to our national security," Slotkin spokeswoman Hannah Lindow said. "Rep. Slotkin has made it clear she is an independent voice for Michigan’s 8th district." 

U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Rochester Hills, speaks at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, urging Russia to release Paul Whelan of Novi, who is from her district.

The GOP attacks come a week after Stevens angered some gun owners in declaring “the NRA has got to go” at a Fems for Dems event attended by a few Trump supporters.

The Tuesday news conference followed the Republican National Committee’s airing of TV attacks targeting Stevens and Slotkin. The commercials against Slotkin and Stevens are part of a $2 million RNC television and digital ad buy in congressional districts of more than 60 vulnerable Democrats, but the RNC won't indicate how much of the $2 million is being spent in Michigan.

A Democratic group with close ties to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, this week will begin airing more than $1 million in ads to bolster vulnerable House Democrats during the impeachment battle. Slotkin and Stevens will benefit later this week from "six-figure TV ad buys" in their districts, said Abby Curran Horrell, a spokeswoman for the House Majority Forward.

"House Majority Forward is committed to educating Americans about the progressive legislative accomplishments of Reps. Slotkin and Stevens," Horrell said. 

State Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, declared that Steven’s seat “is definitely going to be flipped” back to the Republicans. 

“She is a fluke of a representative,” Maddock said. “I think it’s obvious she’s exposed herself as a radical leftist and that’s not what this district is whatsoever.”

The 11tth district includes portions of Wayne and Oakland counties. Stevens last year defeated Republican Lena Epstein in the GOP-leaning district by nearly 7 percentage points, 52%-45%.