Amash Is Out: Anti-Trump Congressman Who Left Republican Party Will Not Seek Reelection

Posted: Jul 17, 2020 12:05 PM
Amash Is Out: Anti-Trump Congressman Who Left Republican Party Will Not Seek Reelection

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash (Libertarian) will not be seeking a sixth term in the House of Representatives. The one time Republican and virulent anti-Trump lawmaker confirmed his decision via social media late Thursday night after reports surfaced that he would not seek reelection.  

Amash, once thought to be a rising star of the Republican Party, announced his separation from the GOP in a Washington Post op-ed last year. Citing a "partisan death spiral," Amash said he would identify in Congress as an Independent. 

"Modern politics is trapped in a partisan death spiral, but there is an escape," he said last July. "Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party. No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us."

Amash's bold declaration was preceded by an increasingly vocal stand against President Trump, and a visible association with "Never Trump" conservatives. Soon after his separation from the GOP, the party that ushered him into nearly a decade in Congress, Amash became the only "conservative" in Congress to vote for the impeachment of the president. 

In April, Amash officially joined the Libertarian Party and launched an exploritory committee to run for president in 2020 on the third party ticket. That aspiration was short lived, however, and Amash gave up the idea of being president a short time later, noting that he would not be able to win.  

Since his party affiliation jump to Libertarian in April, Amash has been hailed as a leader of that party, which was founded 1971 but had never had an active representative in Congress before. Amash had also been a vocal advocate for the ideals of the Libertarian Party via social media in recent days, including support for the current presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen. 

The Libertarian Party, long celebrated by those who rail against bloated government and high taxes, has been under fire in recent days for advocating for controversial and vague "anti-racism" legislation. Though many consider libertarianism to be much more closely associated with the values of conservatives, the Libertarian Party has also advocated for the end of qualified immunity for police, a law change that would devastate law enforcement and is embraced by left wing activists and the "Defund the Police" movement. 

Amash, once praised for his adherence to conservative values and principles in Congress, has recently embraced "anti-racism" and an end to qualified immunity. He raised only $24,000 in reelection campaign funds in the second quarter of 2020 after raising more than $1 million in the first quarter. 

Amash currently represents the Third Congressional District of Michigan, which is +6 Republican. There are currently five GOP candidates on the ballot and only one Democrat. That primary, which will not include Amash, will take place next month.