By Jim EllisMay 22, 2019 — Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids) has just drawn a major Republican primary challenge, the announcement timing influenced because of his call for impeaching President Trump. Rep. Amash is the first Republican to make such a statement, and national Democrats were seizing upon his comment as a signal that bipartisan support for their desired action does exist.
After reading the Mueller Report, Rep. Amash publicly released a statement saying he is joining those in favor of impeachment. Taking action against his stand, state Rep. Jim Lower (R-Greenville) announced his congressional candidacy and released a Mitchell Research & Communications survey (April 30-May 1; 440 likely MI-3 Republican primary voters) to support his claim that the congressman would be vulnerable in a primary.
The poll finds that Amash would lead Lower, 44-23 percent in the initial ballot test. But, that is obviously not the damaging part for the congressman. When testing Trump among the Republican respondent sample, a full 92 percent say they strongly or somewhat approve of the president’s job performance. Therefore, it becomes reasonable to conclude that the overwhelming majority of these individuals, if not all of them, would oppose impeaching the president.
The questionnaire delved further into Rep. Amash’s record of largely being a thorn in the side of House GOP leadership, and generally opposing virtually every Republican policy initiative because of typically not being purely consistent with his more Libertarian Party-oriented beliefs.
Looking at the verbiage from the Mitchell poll questionnaire, the following paragraph is how they describe Rep. Amash:
“Justin Amash was elected to Congress 10 years ago. Amash has consistently voted against President Donald Trump on important issues, most recently against Trump’s declaration calling a national emergency on the Southern border.
He also voted against cutting funds to Planned Parenthood; was one of only four Republicans to vote against a balanced budget; was one of only eight members of Congress to vote against supplying Israel with needed military aid; was one of only 16 Republicans to vote against funding the Department of Defense; was the only Republican in Congress to vote against a resolution supporting ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.”
After digesting this information, in addition to some other points, respondents were then asked the “educated” ballot test question. These results favor Lower by a whopping 63-13 percent margin. Obviously, the latter results are skewed, but it certainly indicates the line of attack the Lower campaign will be using to draw a clear contrast with the incumbent.
Rep. Amash has been seriously challenged in the past. In the 2014 Republican primary, businessman and Grand Rapids School Board member Brian Ellis held the congressman to a 57-43 percent re-nomination victory after the challenger waged a significant campaign. Amash has not faced a difficult primary threat since. But, opposing a Republican president who is solid with the GOP base in such a manner may be going too far, and thus the Lower challenge should be taken very seriously.
Rep. Amash was first elected in 2010, replacing Rep. Vern Ehlers (R) who retired. During his five terms in the House, Rep. Amash has averaged 56.8 percent of the general election vote, including a 54-43 percent victory over Democratic educational consultant Cathy Albro back in November. Despite his victory, the margin spread still shows weakness for Amash. Why? Because Albro did not even spend $160,000 in her campaign effort.