GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD/AP) — After Republican U.S. Rep. Justin Amash beat challenger Brian Ellis in the Third Congressional District primary, he said Ellis’s campaign was “disgusting” and “despicable.”
The libertarian-leaning Amash was targeted by business groups as being too far outside the mainstream of his party. But Amash survived the challenge and is likely headed toward a third two-year term in the Republican-leaning seat that includes parts of five counties and the cities of Grand Rapids and Battle Creek.
Ellis is an investment adviser who loaned $1 million to his campaign and received support from national, state and local Chambers of Commerce.
Amash has made waves in Washington by bucking the GOP leadership. He is a favorite of grassroots and tea party activists.
Amash had harsh words for his opponent at the end of his acceptance speech. He seemed upset that Ellis called earlier in the evening to concede the race, saying he declined the call.
“To Brian Ellis, you owe my family and this community an apology… for your disgusting, despicable, smear campaign,” Amash said toward the end of his victory speech. “You had the audacity to try to call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country. I ran for office to stop people like you — to stop people who were more interested in themselves than in doing what’s best for their district.”
Amash also had strong words for former congressman Pete Hoekstra, who endorsed Ellis.
“I want to say to lobbyist Pete Hoekstra, you’re a disgrace,” he said. “I’m glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance.”
==Watch the last four minutes of Amash’s speech above.==
When speaking live to 24 Hour News 8 after his speech, Amash reiterated his earlier statements.
“(Ellis) ran a smear campaign. It was despicable. It was disgusting. And then he had the audacity to call me up and try to make nice. He’s what wrong with politics, people like him. And I stood up to these people. They lie, they smear, they distort, and then they think everything’s fine afterwards and it’s not fine,” Amash said.
“The people want honest representatives, people with integrity. And I’ll continue to do that. I’ll fight for liberty. I’ll follow the Constitution. And I’ll pay attention the details of legislation, not just the title,” he continued.
Watch Amash’s full live interview with 24 Hour News 8 following his victory via YouTube:
Amash will face movie theater owner Bob Goodrich in November. Goodrich was unopposed in the Democratic primary.
The Third Congressional District covers parts or all of Barry, Calhoun, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties.