DETROIT — Growing up black and Republican outside the heavily Democratic city of Flint, Michigan, Kelly Mitchell learned from her parents the importance of sticking to her beliefs and working hard to achieve goals.
On Monday, she’ll mark a personal and professional milestone: Casting her vote as a member of Michigan’s Electoral College along with her father and fellow elector, Henry Hatter.
“I really wanted this for me and my dad,” said Mitchell, a sales account manager from Grand Rapids, state party official and member of President-elect Donald Trump’s energy-focused transition team. “My dad is probably my biggest cheerleader. I was raised … by two loving parents and have been an activist in Michigan politics for over 30 years.”
Mitchell and Hatter are among the nation’s few black Republican electors, and a rare father-daughter duo. They recognize their unusual position, considering exit polls that show 8 percent of blacks nationally voted for Trump and 88 percent for Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t really worry about what other people who say to me about race or how I should vote,” Mitchell told The Associated Press. “It’s been what’s right for and worked for me. I make no apologies.”
Mitchell said she “grew up shadowing” Hatter, a retired automotive engineer who has served the GOP on the county, district and state levels and was an elector for President Gerald Ford in 1976.
“Even when others attempted to discourage her, she held the course,” said Hatter, 80.
The state requires the 16 members of the Electoral College to convene Monday at the statehouse to vote according to the results of Michigan’s presidential election; Trump won by .2 percentage points. Most state electors were interviewed by The Associated Press, and they expressed personal support for him regardless.
Mitchell, Hatter and other electors say they’ve been deluged with missives urging them to vote for Clinton or a different Republican. Those emails, phone calls, postcards — even some Christmas cards, Hatter said — have not swayed them.
By Jeff Karoub | AP