Ex-Rep. Paul Mitchell, who left GOP over Trump, dies

Former Michigan Rep. Paul MitchellPaul MitchellSeven takeaways from California's recall election Opposition to California recall widens in new poll CNN posthumously airs final interview with late Rep. Paul Mitchell MORE, who left the Republican Party last year over former President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE’s refusal to accept the 2020 election results, has died at the age of 64 after a battle with renal cancer. 

Mitchell died Sunday, according to a statement from his wife, Sherry Mitchell.

“I am immensely proud of him and never more so than when he was the lone voice in a sea of politicians who cared more about power than the true definition of the office. When he remained the lone voice and ignored the threats from those claiming to be his friends,” his wife wrote. “Paul stood up for what matters most, it had nothing to do with political ideology and everything to do with keeping our humanity. For everyone.”

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Mitchell, who served on the leadership team of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyOvernight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Top Democrats tout California recall with an eye toward 2022 Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race MORE (R-Calif.), did not seek a third term in the House in 2020, pointing to the partisan bickering and gridlock in Washington. 

But in December, just a month after President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE’s victory over Trump, Mitchell said he was taking the unusual step of leaving the GOP completely and becoming an independent. 

In a letter addressed to McCarthy and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielGOP seeks Biden referendum over vaccine mandates RNC vows to sue over Biden vaccine, testing mandate H.R. 4 carries forward the legacy of Congressman John Lewis MORE, a fellow Michigander, Mitchell directly called out Trump and his GOP allies for continuing to sow doubt about the results of the presidential election.

Weeks later, the U.S. Capitol was sacked by a violent mob of Trump loyalists trying to halt Congress’s certification of Biden’s victory.

"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 in his statement announcing he was defecting from the GOP. "Further, it is unacceptable for the president to attack the Supreme Court of the United States because its judges, both liberal and conservative, did not rule with his side or that 'the Court failed him.' 

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“It was our Founding Fathers' objective to insulate the Supreme Court from such blatant political motivations." 

While there may have been isolated cases of voter fraud and administrative issues with the 2020 election, Mitchell continued, “the president and his legal team have failed to provide substantive evidence of fraud or administrative failure on a scale large enough to impact the outcome of the election.”

First elected to Congress the same year as Trump, Mitchell, a former business executive, was one of the wealthiest members of Congress with a net worth estimated at nearly $180 million.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by six children and six grandchildren.