GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The two men who have said they want to take Rep. Justin Amash’s seat in Congress scoffed at remarks from the representative that their campaigns are “not serious.”
In weekend tweets, Amash, of metro Grand Rapids, declared that President Donald Trump’s actions revealed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation report are “impeachable.” On Monday, he answered questions as a gaggle of reporters swarmed him outside of the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
“It’s a process and you have to come to the right conclusions about how to draft something,” Amash responded when asked about beginning impeachment proceedings. “I think it’s appropriate to do so.”
“He’s been a loser for a long time, rarely votes for Republicans and personally I think he’s not much,” Trump said Monday.
When asked about Republican primary election challengers next year, Amash, now in his fifth term, was dismissive.
“It’s not serious,” he told the reporters.
Former Sand Lake Village President Tom Norton of Ada and state Rep. Jim Lower of Greenville have both said they will challenge Amash in the primary. Lower moved up his plans to announce his candidacy after Amash’s weekend tweets.
“It’s definitely a serious campaign and I think the congressman’s in big trouble,” Lower said Tuesday.
Lower said Amash’s rift with the president is just one of the reasons he would like to take the congressman’s seat. He said Amash hasn’t had many accomplishments during his time in office.
“My public service has resulted in real results for the community,” Lower said. “There’s a clear distinction between getting nothing done and just being on TV and actually doing the job.”
Norton was in the race before the Twitter posts pushed Amash into the national limelight. Norton says he is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and took special exception to Amash’s “not serious” remark.
“I think that what he’s saying is Afghan war veterans aren’t serious candidates,” Norton said.
Norton criticized Amash for what he said is a lack of connection with his district.
“I don’t think you’re a libertarian, I think you’re a liberal-tarian,” he said, playing on reports that Amash might run for president as Libertarian candidate. “It’s really down to constituent relations and everybody’s felt ignored and I’ve seen it proceed with him consistently.”
Lower and Norton both said they would support the Republican nominee for the seat no matter who it is.
Both men were supporters of Amash’s and helped get him elected to the seat they now say they want him out of.
When asked whether he felt safe he would be elected to serve another term, Amash responded by saying, “I feel very confident in my district.”
The candidates said they will run for Amash’s seat have been featured in national press — an unusual amount of attention for a primary race that is still nearly a year away.
Republican leaders say they expect more primary candidates to enter the race for the seat before voters head to the polls in August 2020.
*Editors note: A previous version of this story innacurately reported the month of the primary election. We regret the error.