Michigan's Rep. Amash to Face Primary Challenge From Moderate Republican

Tuesday, 08 Oct 2013 04:15 PM

By Dan Weil

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Libertarian Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan will have to face a primary challenge for his seat next year from Brian Ellis, founder of an investment advisory firm.

Ellis, who announced his campaign Tuesday, presents himself as a more traditional conservative than the iconoclastic Amash, Michigan Live reports.

Amash "has turned his back on conservative principles," Ellis said in a news release. Ellis' campaign biography says he's a "fiscal and social conservative Republican who embraces traditional values, limited government, and strong national security."

Amash's district — once held by Gerald Ford — is centered in Grand Rapids and includes Ionia and Battle Creek. Ellis is president of Brooktree Capital Management, and sits on the East Grand Rapids Board of Education.

Amash was swept to power in the 2010 election, which introduced many tea party sympathizers to Capitol Hill. But the Washington Post says, "Grand Rapids' powerful business establishment" is getting fed up with his "ideological agenda and tactics."

Amash, who is in his second term, has regularly strayed from Republican orthodoxy in Washington. The House Republican leadership kicked him off the Budget Committee for not supporting the party's agenda.

In his campaign announcement, Ellis criticized Amash for voting "present" on a bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood, voting "present" on a Keystone oil pipeline bill, and voting against the House budget.

Money apparently won't be an issue for Ellis. He will garner all he needs from "a group of people who can give at robust levels," a prominent west Michigan executive told The Detroit News.

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