Justin Amash runs for Michigan Senate as a Republican after leaving GOP.

LANSING— Former Republican Rep. Justin Amash, who left the party in 2019 after advocating for Trump's impeachment, declared a Republican campaign for Michigan's Senate seat Thursday.

Amash, who represented Grand Rapids from 2011 to 2021, is the third former rep to run for Michigan's Senate seat as a Republican. Businessman Sandy Pensler and former Reps. Mike Rogers and Peter Meijer have also declared Republican candidacy.

“I’m convinced that no candidate would be better positioned to win both the Republican primary and the general election,” Amash stated on Twitter. That's why I'm declaring my candidacy for Michigan's US Senate today.

After leaving the party to become an independent, Amash entered the Republican primary. He was the only House Republican to advocate Trump impeachment in 2019. He chose the Libertarian presidential nomination over reelection after his sixth term in Congress. At the time, Amash stated millions of Americans feel underrepresented by both major parties.

Amash has returned to the party, but he pledged to be “an independent-minded senator prepared to challenge anyone and everyone on the people’s behalf,” if elected. The first Palestinian American legislator in Congress was Amash, whose parents are Palestinian and Syrian. Amash posted on social media earlier this year that an Israeli airstrike murdered six relatives at a Gaza City church.

Michigan's U.S. Senate contest is projected to be the only competitive one this year. Last January, Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced she will not seek reelection after serving in the upper chamber since 2001. U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin is the favorites to win the Democratic nomination and has raised $11.7 million since February 2023.

Rogers led all Republicans in fundraising during his seven stints in Congress. Meijer and Pensler can self-fund their campaigns, making the Republican election expected to be tough. Earlier this month, former Detroit police chief James Craig dropped his Republican bid. Grand Rapids natives Amash and Meijer must overcome prior support for Trump impeachment. After the horrific Capitol mob siege on Jan. 6, 2021, 10 House Republicans voted to impeach Trump, including Meijer.

Trump has enormous sway over Michigan Republicans, and his endorsement for the U.S. Senate position might change the contest. No GOP candidate has won a Michigan Senate contest since 1994.

Defending the Michigan seat might help Democrats keep their 51-49 Senate majority, which faces severe headwinds in Republican-leaning states including West Virginia, Montana, and Ohio.

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