Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) gave a cutting victory speech Tuesday night after defeating an establishment-backed primary challenger who he said ran a “despicable smear” campaign.
Conservative investment manager Brian Ellis received endorsements from both national and local business groups and invested $1 million of his own money in his campaign, according to Grand Rapids TV station WOOD. That just wasn’t enough to defeat the libertarian-leaning Amash, who made a name for himself on Capitol Hill by bucking party leadership and vocally criticizing the National Security Agency.
“I ran for office to stop people like [Ellis] — to stop people who were more interested in themselves than in doing what’s best for their district,” Amash said at the tail end of his victory speech.
Negative ads that aired during the campaign had painted Amash as a pro-choice candidate and referred to him as “Al-Qaeda’s best friend,” according to local TV station WXMI. Amash is Arab-American.
“To Brian Ellis, you owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign,” Amash added. “You had the audacity to try to call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country.”
The congressman also took a dig at former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), who campaigned for Ellis.
“I want to say to lobbyist Pete Hoekstra, you’re a disgrace,” Amash said. “I’m glad we can hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance.”
He now faces Democrat Bob Goodrich in the general election.
Watch Amash’s remarks below, courtesy of WXMI:
This post has been updated.