GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Former U.S. Representative Justin Amash, who left the GOP in 2019 amidst his call for the impeachment of then-President Donald Trump, declared his candidacy for Michigan’s U.S. Senate seat as a Republican on Thursday.

Who is running?

Amash, who represented Grand Rapids from 2011 to 2021, joins the very large Republican field for Michigan’s open Senate seat which is the result of Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow, in office since 2001, announcing her decision not to seek re-election in January.

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The eight Republican candidates running for the seat, in addition to Amash, include: Former Dow Chemical employee Michael Hoover; former congressman Peter Meijer; former congressional candidate/Michigan State Chair for U.S. Term Limits Sherry O’Donnell; Detroit-area businessman Sandy Pensler; former congressman/former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers; Board of Education member Nikki Snyder; Romulus criminal attorney Alexandria Taylor and former Warren Consolidated School District employee Sharon Savage.

The influence of Trump on Michigan Republicans is significant and could easily sway voters during the August primary if he makes an endorsement. That would allow one of the nine candidates to rise to the top in a crowded field.

Democrats still in the senate race include U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, businessman Nasser Beydoun and actor Hill Harper.

In his announcement on the social media platform X, Amash expressed confidence in his ability to secure victory in both the Republican primary and the general election.

The anti-Trump Republican is looking for voters dissatisfied with both parties.

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His decision to enter the senate race marks a return to the GOP for Amash, who had previously left the party to become an Independent. As the sole House Republican supporting a Trump impeachment inquiry in 2019, he chose not to seek re-election for his fifth term, instead pursuing a Libertarian nomination for president. At that time, Amash voiced the sentiment that many Americans felt unrepresented by the major political parties.

While rejoining the party, Amash vowed to be an “independent-minded senator prepared to challenge anyone and everyone on the people’s behalf” if elected.

Amash priorities explained on Facebook page.

The Amash for Senate website currently has no information on what his policies or priorities are. There are only three links on his home page: to donate, to volunteer and to subscribe to a newsletter.

However, on his Facebook page, he displays the “Amash for Senate” logo and says, “Follow the Constitution. Read the bills. Stop governing by emergency. End the forever war. Cut taxes & spending. Stop borrowing trillions. No CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency). Protect free speech. Repeal the Patriot Act & FISA 702. No qualified immunity for government officials. End civil asset forfeiture.”

Will Israel-Hamas conflict have an effect on the race?

Of Palestinian and Syrian descent, Amash made headlines earlier this year by sharing on social media that several of his relatives were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a church in Gaza City.

The Israel-Hamas conflict has become a hot button issue in Michigan with many pro-Palestinian protests occurring in southeast Michigan and more than 100,000 Democrats voting “uncommitted” in Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary to send President Biden a message concerning his support of Israel.

The state contest is anticipated to be a competitive race even though the GOP has not secured victory in a Michigan U.S. Senate race since 1994. Some say that Michigan is in a better position to fight for the seat now that Pete Hoekstra is in charge of the Michigan Republican Party and is better equipped to secure funding for the state races.

For Democrats, defending the Michigan seat is pivotal in their bid to maintain a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate.