Former Rep. Justin Amash announces he’s exploring a US Senate bid

UNITED STATES - MARCH 27: Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., is seen on the House steps of the Capitol before the House passed a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package by voice vote on Friday, March 27, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Rep. Justin Amash launched an exploratory committee on Jan. 18 for Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat, saying he’s contemplating joining the crowded Republican primary field vying for the chance to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Amash left the Republican Party in 2019 over his opposition to then-President Donald Trump, becoming an independent in the U.S. House before announcing his retirement from Congress a year later. Now, he’s looking to reenter the political fray, saying in a statement published on X that Michigan needs a “principled, consistent constitutional conservative in the Senate” and that “many people” are urging him to run in the Republican primary. 

“They see what I see: contenders for the seat who are uninspired, unserious, and unprepared to tackle the chief impediment to liberty and economic prosperity — an overgrown and abusive government that strives to centralize power and snuff out individualism,” Amash tweeted. “The people of Michigan and our country deserve better.”

While Amash left the GOP because of his opposition to Trump, he had a very conservative record on abortion, government funding, health care, and guns during his 10 years in the U.S. House.

Throughout his tenure, Amash voted for multiple anti-abortion measures, including a national 20-week abortion ban

He was a member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of right-wing lawmakers who are often a thorn in the side of GOP leadership, refusing to vote for government funding deals and debt ceiling increases

In 2017, Amash voted to overturn the Affordable Care Act, an effort that was ultimately thwarted when the late Republican Sen. John McCain voted against it in the Senate. 

Amash is also against gun violence prevention legislation. He voted against a bill to enhance background checks for gun purchases, including legislation that would have required background checks for every firearm sale in the United States. He also voted for legislation that would have made it easier to access weapons, including voting in favor of a bill that would have allowed veterans who were deemed mentally incompetent or incapacitated to buy guns. 

If Amash enters the race, he will join fellow former Reps. Mike Rogers and Peter Meijer and former Detroit Police Chief James Craig in the Republican primary.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Elissa Slotkin is the front-runner for the nomination.

Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the race Lean Democratic.