US Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan launches committee to explore presidential run

Tribune Content Agency

DETROIT — U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan independent, is launching an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president.

Amash, who previously paused campaigning for reelection to the House in February, announced the news Tuesday night on Twitter.

“Americans are ready for practical approaches based in humility and trust of the people,” Amash tweeted.

“We’re ready for a presidency that will restore respect for our Constitution and bring people together. I’m excited and honored to be taking these first steps toward serving Americans of every background as president.”

The Grand Rapids-area congressman left the Republican Party on July 4 after writing a Washington Post commentary criticizing hyperpartisanship and saying he is “disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it.”

Libertarian Party leaders last year predicted Amash could win their party’s nomination should he pursue it, and some analysts contended the fifth-term congressman could draw GOP votes from Trump in upper Midwest battleground states.

Gregory Stempfle, chairman of the Michigan Libertarian Party, said earlier this month that he hadn’t spoken directly with Amash about a potential run for president on the party’s ticket but noted: “If he is serious about it, he should make it public as soon as possible.”

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won 3.6% of the vote in Michigan in 2016, when President Donald Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes, or two-tenths of a percentage point. Johnson won more than 172,000 votes.

If Amash follows through on a presidential run, it will leave his 3rd District seat open.

Currently, one Democrat, Hillary Scholten, and five Republicans, including state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis, R-Grand Rapids Township, and businessman Peter Meijer, are running for the seat.

Afendoulis accused Amash of abandoning West Michigan in a Tuesday night statement.

“This is just one more illustration of Justin’s focus — on his own wants and priorities, not his district’s,” Afendoulis said.


(Staff writers Beth LeBlanc and Melissa Nann Burke contributed.)


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