Former GOP Rep. Amash enters Michigan Senate race

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Former Rep. Justin Amash is entering Michigan’s Republican Senate primary, he announced on Thursday.

“After thoroughly evaluating all aspects of a potential campaign, I’m convinced that no candidate would be better positioned to win both the Republican primary and the general election,” Amash wrote on social media.

The Republican-turned-independent hinted he was considering a run for the open seat earlier this year, POLITICO previously reported.

The entry of Amash, who was the second Palestinian-American member elected to Congress, potentially scrambles the race in Michigan, where the state's large Arab-American population has voiced disapproval over the Israel-Hamas conflict. More than 100,000 voters selected the “uncommitted” option on the ballot in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, indicating their dissatisfaction with President Joe Biden.

But first, Amash has to make it through the primary. The GOP field includes former Rep. Mike Rogers — the favorite of the Republican Senate campaign arm — businessman Sandy Pensler, and former Rep. Peter Meijer, who succeeded Amash in the House and is from the family of the well-known Midwestern grocery store chain.

Republicans had hoped to avoid messy primaries in a year that offers up an extremely favorable Senate map, not wanting to miss any opportunities to retake control from Democrats, who hold a razor thin majority in the chamber.

Democrats have a primary of their own, but Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) has the national party's backing and is expected to easily secure the nomination. She faces a nominal challenge from progressive Harper Hill.

But the entry of yet another Republican in Michigan, a swing state that Trump clearly hopes to retake after losing it in 2020, means the party will have to wait to see who emerges from its August 6 primary first.

Amash, despite not having the blessing of the national party, might have appeal with independents. He gained national attention in 2019 as the first Republican lawmaker declaring Trump committed impeachable offenses. He also floated the idea of running for president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2020, but did not do so.

Amash served in the House representing Michigan’s 3rd congressional district between 2011 and 2021. He became an independent in July 2019 and joined the Libertarian Party in April 2020.

CORRECTION: This report has been corrected to include all of the candidates in the Republican field.