Libertarian Rep. Amash Gets Conservative Primary Challenger

In a Sept. 24, 2011 photo, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., is seen during the Republican Leadership Conference at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Mich. Amash is being challenged by Democrat Steve Pestka.
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Libertarian favorite Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) has drawn a primary challenger: conservative investment manager Brian Ellis.

Ellis announced his candidacy Tuesday morning.

“Congressman Justin Amash has turned his back on our conservative principles by voting against the Paul Ryan Budget that would cut spending by $5 trillion, and against a 20% tax cut for small businesses,” Ellis said in a statement. “Congressman Amash refused to vote in favor of the Keystone Pipeline and he even voted to allow our tax dollars to fund America’s largest abortion provider.”

“I will advance conservative solutions by voting to balance the budget, reduce the tax burden, expand American energy sources, and defend the right to life and our Constitution.”

Ellis’s candidacy is reportedly buoyed by business leaders in Michigan and it appears that the Republican businessman plans to challenge Amash by running a campaign focused on fiscal issues.

Over the weekend The Washington Post reported that Ellis had been urged to challenge Amash because of fatigue among local Michigan business leaders toward Tea Party Republicans in Washington, especially in terms of how the GOP has handled the ongoing spending and budget fights.

Ellis, who owns an investment advisory firm, marks his challenge as a strong contrast to the political standing of Amash, who, just a few months ago, was considered a top-tier candidate to run for outgoing Sen. Carl Levin’s (D-MI) Senate seat.

Amash had also raised his profile for joining in an attempted coup of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and leading an effort (that narrowly failed) to defund the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance program.

Amash finished the last fundraising quarter with just $164,000 cash on hand and took to Facebook to ask supporters for campaign contributions. Since Ellis has a background in the business community and is supported by business leaders from Michigan’s Grand Rapids area, fundraising may not be a problem for him.

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