Updated, 8:57 p.m., 4/28/20
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (I-Cascade Twp.), the House’s lone independent, announced Tuesday night on Twitter that he’s taken the next step in seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president.
Amash, who won election in 2010 as a Republican to the Grand Rapids-based 3rd Congressional District, said he’s forming a presidential exploratory committee. The libertarian-leaning lawmaker had paused his independent congressional reelection bid while he was looking into the option.
“Today, I launched an exploratory committee to seek the @LPNational’s nomination for president of the United States. Americans are ready for practical approaches based in humility and trust of the people,” Amash wrote. “We’re ready for a presidency that will restore respect for our Constitution and bring people together. I’m excited and honored to be taking these first steps toward serving Americans of every background as president.”
Amash broke with the GOP when he supported President Donald Trump’s impeachment, but in recent months, he’s stepped up his criticism of both parties and government spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He has been flirting with a presidential run for well over a year and has been considered the Libertarian Party’s best hope for a big-name nominee. Most political analysts believe Amash could, at best, play spoiler in some key states, including his home state of Michigan. However, it’s not clear if he would hurt Trump or presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden more.
In an interview with the Advance in October, Amash predicted Trump would lose Michigan because he’s “constantly stressing everyone out. He just constantly makes the day miserable for so many people, and they’re tired of him. So I think he’s going to do increasingly badly with suburban voters. And then in the city, like in Grand Rapids, they will not take him for granted anymore. I think those voters will come out much stronger than before.”
Amash also would face long odds in a reelection bid for Congress this year, as Michigan has no strong history of electing independents to higher office.
His presidential website is AmashforAmerica.com.