2020 Election: Justin Amash reveals he will not stand as third-party candidate in November

'After much reflection, I’ve concluded that circumstances don’t lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year'

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Saturday 16 May 2020 20:22 BST
Justin Amash on presidential bid

Justin Amash will not run for president as a third-party candidate in the 2020 election.

The former Republican, now independent, congressman announced on Twitter that he will no longer seek to be the Libertarian Party’s nominee.

“After much reflection, I’ve concluded that circumstances don’t lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year, and therefore I will not be a candidate,” he wrote.

“This was a difficult decision for me, especially having seen grassroots supporters put so much effort into this campaign. It’s been humbling and awesome,” he added.

“I continue to believe that a candidate from outside the old parties, offering a vision of government grounded in liberty and equality, can break through in the right environment,” said Mr Amash. “But this environment presents extraordinary challenges.”

The congressman, who represents Michigan’s third district, left his party last summer over his disdain for the hyper-partisan politics that he said had turned Congress into “little more than a formality.”

In a Washington Post column announcing his move, he wrote: “Preserving liberty means telling the Republican Party and the Democratic Party that we’ll no longer let them play their partisan game at our expense.”

On hearing the news of Mr Amash’s departure from the party, Donald Trump called him “one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress” and a “total loser!”

After leaving the Republican Party in 2019, Mr Amash voted to impeach the president.

The Democratic Party fretted that Mr Amash's entry into the race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden could tip the scales in favour of Mr Trump, a popular argument among some political pundits who want to prevent a second term for the president this November.

Political commentators speculated that Mr Amash could attract enough independent voters, or disaffected Republican voters, in swing states such as Michigan and Wisconsin who would otherwise have been inclined to support Mr Biden over Mr Trump.

Democrats are still haunted by the memory of the 2000 election in which enough voters in Florida went for third-party candidate Ralph Nader over vice president Al Gore, handing George W Bush the election by just 537 votes. Mr Nader had more than 97,000 votes in Florida, the majority of whom would have voted for Mr Gore over Mr Bush, exit polling revealed.

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