Republican challenges Amash, criticizes his voting record

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) was the target of much praise and criticism when his amendment to strip funding for the NSA program responsible for the collection of phone records of Americans was narrowly defeated in the House.

While some big government conservatives did not find Amash’s leadership and dedication to disassemble the surveillance programs anything close to productive, Americans of all walks of life cheered his outspoken attitude and his battle to restore 4th amendment rights. Now, a Republican businessman named Brian Ellis has decided to challenge Amash’s Michigan House seat.

According to Politico, Ellis says he will “advance conservative solutions by voting to balance the budget, reduce the tax burden, expand American energy sources, and defend the right to life and our Constitution.” During his announcement, Ellis criticized Amash for voting “present” instead of voting in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline, probably unaware of the reasons why Amash chose to do so. According to news sources covering the story at the time, Rep. Amash voted “present” on the Keystone XL pipeline because he did not believe that a bill should single out just one company or one individual. While Amash was in favor of having the pipeline built, he believed singling out a company was simply unconstitutional.

Ellis also hit Amash by saying the congressman from Michigan also voted “present” on a bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood, which resembles the Keystone bill. Again, Amash agreed that Planned Parenthood should not be funded by taxpayer dollars but also didn’t think that any bill should single out one company or individual.

Ellis is the founder of an investment advisory firm and seems to have enough funds to challenge Amash. The group that might be financing Ellis includes several state business leaders who believe that a more traditional Republican should replace Amash. FEC fillings show that Amash’s campaign had $164,000 on hand at the end of July, which might have prompted Amash to ask his followers on Facebook to donate before the quarterly fundraising deadline in order to help him fight a potential opponent. According to Amash’s request at the time “the Washington political class is scheming to take me out. If we don’t hit our minimum target, they will be emboldened to run a challenger against me.”

According to Ellis’ bio, he is a “fiscal and social conservative Republican who embraces traditional values, limited government, and strong national security.”

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