Amash on Libertarian presidential bid: ‘I’m running to win’

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Though third-party candidates generally don’t have a clear road to the presidency, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash says he’s not running just for show.

“I believe I can win, and that’s the most important thing here. I don’t want to run with the idea of not winning. If I’m going to run, I’m running to win,” Amash, of metro Grand Rapids, told News 8 Wednesday.

He announced Tuesday that he had put together an exploratory committee to look into earning the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president.

The move could make the presidential race in battleground Michigan both interesting and complicated. Amash could get thousands of votes in his home state. Republican President Donald Trump won Michigan in 2016, but by only about 10,000 votes. Democrats view the state as key as getting former Vice President Joe Biden back in the White House.

“I think that most Americans would prefer an alternative to these candidates,” Amash said. “What the parties are doing are the same old, same old. We need something that’s going to be different.”

He said nearly a decade in Congress has given him insight into a “broken” system and how it can be fixed. He cited the “partisan death spiral” that prompted him to leave the Republican Party last year and become an independent.

Amash’s presidential aspirations also shake up the race for the 3rd Congressional District seat he has held for five terms. Six people, state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis, Joe Farrington, Peter Meijer, Tom Norton, Emily Rafi and Andrew Willis — are running for the Republican nomination, while Democrat Hillary Scholten is also vying for the job.

Amash stopped campaigning for his House seat in February. His decision to run for president was delayed while he and others in Congress responded to coronavirus.