A campaign is growing in Michigan for a GOP primary challenger to unseat Congressman Justin Amash, one of the most outspoken members of the party’s libertarian wing, in 2014.
The Hill published an article today highlighting the fundraising efforts of some Michigan businessmen who have aligned themselves with Brian Ellis, Amash’s opponent in the upcoming primary. Ellis, who had a career as a businessman and worked in finance, announced his campaign during the height of the recent government shutdown. He cast his intention to run in light of Amash’s perceived support for the shutdown tactic. The group of businessmen wrote a donation solicitation letter on behalf of Ellis, citing the shutdown and its potential ramifications on Michigan’s economy, and blaming Amash for having “effectively nullified the Republican majority in the U.S. House.”
Amash’s supporters are countering. Today he received an endorsement from the Club for Growth, who declared that “[Amash] has proven time and time again that he will do everything he can to represent Michigan taxpayers and defend the constitution, even if that bothers the big spenders in the both parties.” Amash also counts numerous local businesses within his district as supporters, and will likely enjoy the backing of organizations such as the National Federation of Independent Business, according to the Hill.
Further, Amash might be difficult to unseat just on the basis of his strong personality and popular appeal. He is one of the youngest members of the Congress, popular for explaining on his Facebook page the rationale behind every one of his House votes. His stance against NSA surveillance and his lionization of Edward Snowden’s leaks inspired criticism from some conservatives, but other, more libertarian Republicans have embraced him for this advocacy.
Whether Amash can overcome the challenge that’s arisen from the shutdown and added fuel to talks of a GOP civil war is one battle that will determine whether the party will continue on its present, more uncompromising and libertarian course.