Democrat picking up endorsements in bid to unseat Amash

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Hillary Scholten, a Democratic Grand Rapids attorney who's seeking to oppose Rep. Justin Amash, has scored the endorsements of an influential Democratic interest group and three former Michigan Democratic Party chairmen.

Scholten is running in West Michigan's 3rd Congressional District, which is expected to see competitive primary races on both sides of the aisle in 2020. Scholten faces fellow attorney Nick Colvin for the Democratic nomination. With Amash running as an independent, Republicans and Democrats are targeting the district.

Democrat Hillary Scholten is running for Congress in Michigan's 3rd District.

Emily's List, a national group that works to elect Democratic women who are pro-choice on abortion, announced Thursday its support for Scholten. In a statement, organization President Stephanie Schriock called Scholten a "dedicated fighter for justice and equality."

"She has spent her career standing up for people on the margins of society, inspired by her parents and her faith to serve the under-served," Schriock added.

Emily's List's political committees have been big spenders in Michigan campaigns. In 2018, Women Vote!, a super political action committee connected to Emily's List, spent more than $1 million total across two Michigan U.S. House races, benefiting Democrats Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens, according to campaign finance disclosures. Slotkin, D-Holly, and Stevens, D-Rochester Hills, both flipped Republican seats in 2018.

Scholten has also received the support of former Michigan Democratic Party chairmen Mark Brewer, Brandon Dillon and Lon Johnson, according to a social media post from Scholten.

Scholten worked for the U.S. Department of Justice during President Barack Obama's administration and for the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. She launched her campaign for West Michigan's 3rd Congressional District seat in July.

Colvin, a former Obama staffer and Ionia native, has received endorsements from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and former attorney general candidate Pat Miles, who is the former U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan.

"Nick Colvin’s commitment to excellence and to West Michigan, the district he will represent, is the kind of leadership that we need in order to get our country back on the right path," said U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, in a statement.

Colvin "has been running an aggressive grassroots campaign," said Tim Wagner, a Colvin campaign spokesman.

Amash was elected as a Republican in 2018 but has since disavowed the party and backed President Donald Trump's impeachment.

Republicans seeking the seat are state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis; businessman Joel Langlois; businessman Peter Meijer; and former Sand Lake village trustee Tom Norton. As of the end of September, Meijer was leading in fundraising.

Republican Rep. Jim Lower dropped out of the race this week.