Grand Rapids, Mich., businessman Brian Ellis is doing everything he can to knock Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) out of Washington, D.C., even running an ad calling the two-term congressman “al-Qaeda’s Best Friend in Congress.”
But barring a tidal-wave shift in voter sentiment, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the rest of the House GOP leadership will have to worry about firebrand, libertarian-leaning, Tea Party favorite Amash for another two years.
Without going all “Dewey Beats Truman,” the race for Michigan’s Third District congressional GOP nomination seems all but over with the days ticking down to the Aug. 5 primary.
A Democrat is running in November, but the real race is the GOP August primary. If Bob Goodrich, running without opposition in the Democratic Party primary, beats the winner of the GOP primary it would be an upset of epic proportions.
Ellis has picked up some big-name endorsements, the latest being the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who served as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee from 2004-06.
“Both candidates in the primary sought our endorsement, and the choice in support of Ellis on pro-growth issues was clear,” said Rob Engstrom, U.S. Chamber senior vice president and national political director.
“In today’s economy we need leaders who will advance policies that return our country to its full growth potential,” Engstrom said in a statement. “Brian’s private sector experience and proven conservative record makes him the clear choice for voters focused on job creation and free enterprise.”
Hoekstra, who upset a 13-term incumbent when he beat Rep. Guy Vander Jagt (R-Mich.) in 1992, in Michigan’s Second Congressional District, became another voice joining the Ellis choir in early July.
“Brian Ellis will be a strong partner with Michigan Republican Members of Congress to advance conservative solutions, including a balanced budget, keeping terrorists locked up in Guantanamo Bay, and defending the right to life,” said Hoekstra in a statement released by the Ellis camp.
“Brian Ellis will work to repeal Obamacare and stand up for our conservative values, and any claim to the contrary is nonsense. Bottom line, I strongly endorse Brian Ellis because he will be an effective conservative voice and a consistent conservative vote for solutions that will help hardworking Michigan taxpayers. Brian Ellis will not just talk conservative, but he will vote conservative,” added Hoekstra.
Not just talking conservative, but voting conservative has been a major campaign issue in the Amash-Ellis race for Michigan’s Third District congressional seat.
The Ellis campaign has issued press releases every week highlighting votes by Amash that they say are not conservative enough.
However, when it comes to the argument over who’s conservative enough, Amash picked up the biggest endorsement of the month. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) put his powerful name behind the Amash ticket in a radio ad that aired across West Michigan.
“Washington needs more conservatives with backbone—more conservatives like Justin Amash,” said Cruz in the ad.
Calling Amash “West Michigan’s principled conservative,” Cruz applauded Amash for his work to repeal Obamacare, defend the right to life, and stand up to the Obama administration.