Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) announced that he will not run for Senate, essentially setting the field for outgoing Sen. Carl Levin’s (D-MI) seat.
First reported by National Journal on Tuesday night, a source close to Amash confirmed to TPM that he wouldn’t be running. “He has been leaning against a run for a couple of months but decided to finalize the decision over the weekend,” he said.
Amash is the last of a crop of House members with a national profile who were considering entering the race. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI), House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), and Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) were also considering jumping into the race but passed.Amash had been weighing the matter for months but, according to National Journal, decided to pass based on three major factors. One was polling. Amash conducted extensive internal polling on the race which found that he had a strong chance of winning the Republican nomination but a less-than-sure chance of beating Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) in the general election.
Amash had also been hoping to compete against Rogers, who is something of his ideological opposite within the GOP, but then Rogers decided not to run. Lastly, according to National Journal, Amash had also been busy crafting an amendment that would have defunded the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance program, which failed to pass by just 12 votes.
Amash was on the shortlist of names that Democrats had been expecting to jump into the race and if he had, he likely would have had significant backing money-wise from libertarian outside groups. The Liberty For All political action committee said it would spend six figures on Amash’s campaign if he had decided to run. He had also been quietly fundraising around the state which suggested that he indeed was planning to run.
Amash’s decision means the race will most likely be between Peters, the all-but-official Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R). Earlier in the week Oakland Judge Kimberly Small (R), who had previously met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, decided not to run.
The NRSC released a memo on Tuesday which said Michigan had undergone “dramatic” public opinion shifts and now Republicans could win Levin’s seat. The memo contrasted widespread assessments among political observers that Levin’s would stay in Democratic hands.