GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — About three weeks from the Michigan Republican primary, a challenger aiming for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives received what he says in an important endorsement.
Without a gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race on the Aug. 5 ballot, voter turnout may be low. Campaigns are looking for ways to urge their supporters to show up, and grab the attention of and motivate undecided voters.
Republican Brian Ellis, who is running for the Third Congressional District seat against incumbent Rep. Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids) in the primary, hopes a recent endorsement from former Congressman Pete Hoekstra will draw in voters.
“It means a lot to my campaign,” Ellis said. “Pete is a conservative leader. Highly regarded, highly respected right here at home. And for him to step forward and support my campaign is a huge endorsement.”
Hoekstra said he was taking sides in the inter-party battle because he believes Ellis will encourage action in Washington.
“I’m still a very close observer for what’s going on in Washington, what’s going on internationally and what’s going on in West Michigan. What West Michigan needs is they need another conservative problem solver to work with the rest of the Michigan delegation, to work in Congress, to work toward solutions,” Hoekstra said. “When you take a look at what’s going on in the Middle East, when you take a look at what’s going on with the economy, we need more than someone just to say no. We need someone who can get to yes and get this country moving in the right direction.”
Amash downplayed the importance of Hoekstra’s endorsement.
“I don’t think it will have much of an impact,” Amash told 24 Hour News 8 during a Monday evening phone interview. “People at home know that I’m about protecting the rights of ordinary Americans. And Brian Ellis and Peter Hoekstra during his time as Intelligence Committee Chairman have been about protecting the surveillance state. What happened during his tenure was the NSA Spying program. And Brian Ellis has endorsed that program and I’m against it, and that’s what this really is all about.”
Polling in the race has so far consistently shown Amash holding a double-digit lead over Ellis.
But Ellis said his campaign is gathering steam.
“We have more momentum everyday and Pete’s endorsement today just adds to that momentum and I am confident it’s going to carry me right over the finish line,” Ellis said.
The Third Congressional District covers parts or all of Barry, Calhoun, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties. Businessman Bob Goodrich is the Democrat running for the seat.