Amash, a Grand Rapids native who represents Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, came to national prominence in May 2019, when he became the first Republican member of Congress to declare that Trump had committed impeachable offenses.
Two months later, he revealed he was leaving the GOP to become an independent. Although Amash was a founding member of the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus, he had emerged as a vocal critic of the president.
In April 2020, Amash said he was forming an exploratory committee for president as a Libertarian Party candidate. The announcement was met with bipartisan derision but encouraged by Trump, who tweeted that Amash “would make a wonderful candidate.”
Many Democrats feared an Amash White House run could siphon votes from their party’s presumptive nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden. But Amash scuttled his prospective bid in May after concluding that “circumstances don’t lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year.”
Amash’s apparent acknowledgment that he will not seek reelection in November opens up a Republican-leaning district that both parties were prepared to contest, though Democrats would have had better odds with Amash in the race.
Amash’s home state of Michigan was one of the key battlegrounds Trump flipped in 2016 to capture office. Recent polling, however, shows Biden leading Trump in those Midwestern swing states, Michigan included, as well as among voters nationwide.