GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — U.S. Rep. Justin Amash is making a run for the White House, hoping to be the nominee for the Libertarian Party.
Amash, a fifth-term representative for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, announced Tuesday evening on Twitter that he had launched an exploratory committee to seek the nomination.
“Americans are ready for practical approaches based in humility and trust of the people,” he 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.”
The move is not unexpected: Amash had hinted in recent weeks that it was forthcoming.
He is among about 20 people vying for the nomination for the third-largest party in the country, and he is the best well-known.
The representative from metro Grand Rapids is known for libertarian ideals, though he was a member of the Republican Party for years. He left the party in July of last year, telling News 8 that partisan politics were hurting the country and he wanted to stand up for his beliefs without being beholden to a party. He is now an independent.
He has also been a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump, becoming the first Republican (before he left the party) to say Trump should be impeached because of his actions during the investigation into Russian election meddling.
While third-party candidates rarely make it close to the White House, it is possible Amash’s campaign could cause trouble for Trump’s reelection if Amash garners a significant number of votes in his home state, which is shaping up to be a November battleground.
Republicans Lynn Afendoulis, Joe Farrington, Andrew Willis, Peter Meijer, Tom Norton and Emily Rafi and Democrat Hillary Scholten are all running in the August primary, seeking to take the House seat Amash has held since 2011.
Afendoulis, currently a state representative, released a statement Tuesday night saying Amash’s presidential run demonstrated he was more interested in his priorities than his constituents’ and throwing her support behind Trump. Meijer said in a statement that his campaign is about serving West Michigan.
**Correction: A previous version of this article listed a Democratic challenger for Amash’s House seat who had already dropped out of the race. We regret the mistake, which has been corrected.