Rep. Amash and Challenger Goodrich Promise Civil Race in Michigan

Following a turbulent primary, the general election for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District may be shaping up to be surprisingly civil in tone.

On August 5, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R) survived a tough primary against well-funded businessman Brian Ellis. Just as noteworthy as Amash’s victory was his speech following Ellis’ concession.

A libertarian-minded Republican, Amash pulled no punches, chastising lobbyist and former Michigan congressman Pete Hoekstra in addition to Ellis:

“I ran for office to stop people like you. To stop people who are more interested in themselves than what’s best for their district. Everyday Americans . . . are taking their government back from the political class elites. . . . They’re taking it back from the insiders who have contempt for the American people.”

Then on Friday, in contrast to his pointed speech, Amash met with his November challenger, theater owner and Democrat Bob Goodrich.

On Twitter, Amash said:


Amash’s choice of words may not be random following a vitriolic primary. In one of those primary ads, Ellis charged Amash, who is of Middle Eastern descent, as “al Qaeda’s best friend in Congress.”

Goodrich’s office released a statement indicating his intention to run a clean, productive race:

“‘It’s just politics’ is not acceptable behavior; you never see a businessman personally attack another businessman, or lawyers in a courtroom personalize the debate; you never see a jeweler accuse another jeweler of being a criminal. My campaign will be about ideas, historical successes, and accessibility for all citizens of the 3rd congressional district.”

Also in contrast to Amash’s race against Ellis, the incumbent has agreed to a series of public forums with his challenger, though no formal debate is scheduled yet.

On his campaign website, Goodrich says he is running on a platform of “economic fairness for all Americans,” as well as “women’s rights . . . and government protecting our economic health.” Against the pro-life libertarian Amash, vigorous disagreements should be expected.

Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District leans Republican, so Amash’s toughest electoral challenge of the year is likely behind him. First elected in 2010 on the tea party wave, Amash survived in 2012 after redistricting left him in less favorable territory. He has now staved off an equitable primary opponent and has all the advantages of incumbency against a political newcomer who ran unopposed in his primary.

Two weeks after the primary and without any substantial polling available, the race is still technically in its early stages. Amash may not have much to worry about in a district he has successfully defended before, but he and opponent Bob Goodrich have set up an initial standard for a clean race focused on ideas.

Photo Source: Justin Amash’s campaign.