U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (Associated Press)
Washington — U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, a young libertarian lawmaker, will face a Republican primary challenger in August who argues the Cascade Township congressman’s independent streak has put him out of touch with his west Michigan constituents
Brian Ellis, owner of an investment advisory firm and East Grand Rapids school board member, announced Tuesday he will challenge Amash for the 3rd Congressional District seat.
“Congressman Justin Amash has turned his back on our conservative principles … ,” Ellis said in a statement announcing his candidacy.
Amash spokesman Will Adams responded to the primary challenge Tuesday with two words: “It’s bizarre.”
Amash is a Ron Paul protege who led the charge against the National Security Agency’s phone records collection, but he has bucked his Republican Party leadership enough to get booted from his original Budget Committee assignment.
Amash has has frustrated some in the Grand Rapids-area business community. Business leaders have urged Ellis into the race and pledged their financial backing, The Detroit News’ Nolan Finley reported last month.
Ellis says constituents in west Michigan deserve a congressman who will stand in favor of GOP priorities such as the creation of the Keystone XL pipeline and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal that would slow down spending, lower business taxes and reform entitlement programs. Ellis also took issue with Amash’s “no” vote against defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions at some locations.
Amash, 33, argued Ryan’s budget didn’t go far enough on spending cuts and voted “present” on measures to stop taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood because though he is anti-abortion he doesn’t believe the Constitution permits the singling out of an organization.