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Former Rep. Justin Amash enters Michigan’s jumbled GOP Senate primary

In World
March 01, 2024

Former Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican-turned-independent who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump in 2019, jumped into Michigan’s crowded GOP Senate primary Thursday.

“After thoroughly evaluating all aspects of a potential campaign, I’m convinced that no candidate would be better positioned to win both the Republican primary and the general election,” Amash said in a post on X. “That’s why, today, I’m making it official: I’m joining the race for United States Senate in Michigan.”

Amash announced last month that he had formed an exploratory committee to consider a run for the seat that is opening with the retirement of Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow. He joins a primary field that already includes two other former congressmen — Mike Rogers and Peter Meijer — and businessman Sandy Pensler. James Craig, a former Detroit police chief, dropped out of the race earlier this month.

Rogers, backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and other key GOP figures, is seen as a front-runner after Craig’s departure. An EPIC-MRA poll last week found Rogers and Rep. Elissa Slotkin, the leading contender for the Democratic Senate nomination, in a virtual tie.

Amash, who has long adhered to a libertarian ideology, left the GOP in 2019 and became a political independent and Trump critic. He decided not to seek another House term in 2020. Meijer, who succeeded Amash in Congress, voted to impeach Trump in 2021.

“The past few years away from Congress have given me time to reflect on the experiences that have shaped my life, the principles of liberty that inspire me, and what my tenure in Congress meant to the people of my community,” Amash wrote in his X post. “My parents arrived in the United States as teenagers in search of a better future — my father, a Palestinian refugee, and my mother, a Syrian immigrant. They instilled in me a love for America and for the values and principles at the heart of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.”

In response to Amash’s announcement, NRSC spokesperson Mike Berg referenced the former congressman’s decision to leave the Republican Party in 2019. “And here we thought Peter Meijer was the biggest Trump hater in this race,” Berg posted on X.

Amash faces a tight timeline to qualify for the August primary ballot. Candidates are required to submit 15,000 verified petition signatures by April 23. Craig, who was disqualified from Michigan’s Republican primary for governor in 2022 because he lacked enough valid signatures, cited the high threshold as a reason he suspended his Senate campaign.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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