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Fri Jul 31, 2020, 10:15 PM

MI-03: Amash Retirement Opens Michigan Seat Democrats Plan to Target

Rep. Justin Amash’s decision not to run as a third-party candidate for his seat in November may have provided an opening for Democrats, as an increasingly negative Republican primary fight comes to a close.

Democrats say Amash’s July 17 announcement that the Republican-turned-Libertarian won’t seek re-election makes the race a clearer contrast for voters and, along with the district’s shifting suburban vote, will help the party pick up a seat in the Grand Rapids area for the first time since 1976.

Some Democrats said they hoped a three-way race would have splintered the GOP vote, but others said Amash, who voted for Trump’s impeachment, would have pulled votes away from both major party candidates. With Amash out of the picture, private Democratic polling shows their nominee, immigration attorney Hillary Scholten, in a close race with either of the Republican front-runners, Army veteran Peter Meijer and state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis.

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said not having to run against Amash makes a “huge difference” for Scholten.

“It was already a race we were watching, because we believe there’s been so much change in that part of the state,” Barnes said. “Even more so, now that Amash is not in the race, it becomes a district we care about and we’ll watch.”...

“The Democrat has gotten a really lucky draw. Their opponents were all out and done by February,” Meijer spokesman Noah Sadlier said. “We are focused right now on winning the Republican primary.”


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