GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Congressman Justin Amash says he is no longer part of the Republican Party, but he is confident he can win reelection as an Independent, despite a growing pool of contenders.
Monday, immigration attorney Hillary Scholten announced her bid for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District. The 37-year-old who served in the Justice Department under President Obama says she running to work on immigration reform, affordable health care and education.
“There’s a growing number of women like myself that are raising their hands to run for Congress right now who are invested in their communities, who are bringing fresh perspectives to Congress, and I’m inspired by them,” she said.
In May, Amash became the only Republican to say President Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses, based on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Amash faced backlash from fellow Republicans for his stance and eventually quit the conservative and libertarian House Freedom Caucus which he helped found.
Then on Independence Day, Amash declared his own independence for the Republican Party. In a speech that day he seemed to allude to the reasoning behind his decision.
“What we share as Americans is far more powerful and important than our political identities. Our differences aren’t meaningless. It’s our diversity with our various backgrounds and ideas that make this country such a unique and exciting place to live. But we can’t let these differences become an insurmountable wall between us,” he told the crowd.
Amash already faced a field of at least four Republican primary challengers before making his declaration: state Reps. Lynn Afendoulis and Jim Lower, former Sand Lake trustee and military veteran Tom Norton and Army veteran Peter Meijer.
Other Democrats who have signaled they’re running include Nick Colvin, who previously worked in the Obama White House, Doug Booth, who specializes in health care policy, and Navy veteran and political activist Amanda Le’Anne Brunzell.
If Amash runs as an Independent, his impact on the race could make the third party competitive for the first time in decades. But with the primary more than a year away, the list of contenders could grow even longer.