Rep. Justin Amash’s (I-MI-03) congressional district moved from “toss up” to “lean Republican” in The Cook Political Report’s latest analysis.
“The situation in Grand Rapids is unique, but Amash’s impeachment stance (and the fact Democratic freshmen are even lobbying for him to serve as a manager in a Senate trial) complicates Democrats’ math. Any path in 2020 probably involved Amash siphoning votes from the GOP nominee, reducing the threshold for victory. Now, Amash’s anti-Trump posture seems more likely to split votes on the left,” The Cook Political Report said Friday.
Had Amash waited to defect from the Republican Party, he could have been the only Republican representative to vote against impeachment, which would have allowed Democrats to call it a “bipartisan” vote. Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, said as much in a recent tweet.
“Justin Amash could have been the only Republican to vote for impeachment, making it a ‘bipartisan’ effort. Instead, he left the GOP months ago in a fit of pique, thinking his exit would damage Trump. It did the opposite, a microcosm of the long-term effects of Trump derangement,” said Davis.
Justin Amash could have been the only Republican to vote for impeachment, making it a “bipartisan” effort. Instead, he left the GOP months ago in a fit of pique, thinking his exit would damage Trump. It did the opposite, a microcosm of the long-term effects of Trump derangement.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 19, 2019
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-02) followed Davis’ strategy by voting against the articles of impeachment as a Democrat before defecting to the Republican Party the following day.
“Unlike pro-Trump party switcher Rep. Jeff Van Drew, Amash is now his own island. It’s doubtful there’s a sufficient market for a pro-life/pro-impeachment independent in the district to allow him a path to a sixth term,” said The Cook Political Report.
As of now, Amash plans to run for reelection as an independent, but rumors have been circulating that he may seek the Libertarian nomination for president. There are four candidates seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Amash in 2020, but a nominee won’t be finalized until the August 2020 primary.
President Donald Trump won Amash’s district 52 percent to 42 percent over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“Either way, the math is tough for Democrats. As long as Amash stays in, he could split the anti-Trump vote, which is still likely to constitute a minority of voters in 2020,” The Cook Political Report concludes. “But if Amash doesn’t seek reelection, Democrats could end up facing a self-funder (Langlois or Meijer) in a seat Trump carried by nearly ten points in 2016. For now, this seat moves from Toss Up to the Lean Republican column.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Justin Amash” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.