Paul ally Amash decides to back Cruz for president

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Since his libertarian ally Rand Paul is out of the race for the White House, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash is now throwing his support behind U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for the Republican presidential nomination.

Amash, a Kent County Republican, announced his endorsement Tuesday of Cruz in the remaining five-man GOP presidential field in a guest commentary in the online publication Independent Journal Review.

The Cruz endorsement from Amash comes as other Michigan Republican leaders are lining up with respective camps ahead of Michigan’s March 8 primary.

Amash was an ardent support of Paul, a Kentucky U.S. senator who dropped out of the race after a ninth-place finish in the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary.

In the endorsement commentary, Amash noted he has his differences with Cruz.

“On civil liberties and foreign policy, Ted and I don’t always agree,” Amash wrote. “But he was one of only 10 Republican senators to stand up for our rights by supporting Rand Paul’s amendment to kill the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 — also known as CISA — a cyberspying bill that violates the privacy of all Americans.”

“And Ted has been a stalwart defender of our Fifth Amendment right to due process, strongly opposing the government’s asserted power to indefinitely detain Americans without charge or trial,” Amash added.

Amash’s support for Cruz makes him the first member of Michigan’s congressional delegation to endorse the conservative senator from Texas with two weeks until Michigan Republicans vote in the March 8 primary.

Republican U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga, John Moolenaar and Dan Benishek have backed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

U.S. Reps. Mike Bishop of Rochester and Dave Trott of Birmingham previously endorsed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who dropped out of the race Saturday after finishing fourth in the South Carolina primary.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, endorsed former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina last fall. Fiorina dropped out of the race after a seventh-place showing in the New Hampshire primary.

It’s unclear whether Bishop, Trott or Miller will back a different candidate before the primary election.

GOP Reps. Fred Upton of St. Joseph and Tim Walberg of Tipton have remained uncommitted to any presidential candidate.

Cruz, Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, billionaire Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson are the remaining candidates.

On Monday, Kasich’s campaign rolled out a list of Michigan Republicans endorsing his candidacy that includes former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof of West Olive and three other state GOP lawmakers.

Rubio has his own list of supporters in Michigan that includes 14 Republican members of the Legislature.

Few Michigan Republican leaders have publicly backed Trump, the GOP frontrunner.

But on Friday, GOP state Sen. Jack Brandenburg of Harrison Township issued an endorsement statement that said Trump “represents a fresh start, and also because of his honesty and utmost candor.”

“He is a man that shoots from the hip and is hip when he shoots,” Brandenburg said. “I like that.”

clivengood@detroitnews.com

(517) 371-3660

Twitter.com/ChadLivengood