CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, L-Mich., decided against running for the Libertarian nomination for president less than three weeks after launching his presidential exploratory committee.
“I’ve spent nearly three weeks assessing the race, appearing in media, talking to delegates and donors, watching the Libertarian Party’s convention plan unfold, and gathering feedback from family, friends, and other advisers. 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,” Amash tweeted.
“Polarization is near an all-time high. Electoral success requires an audience willing to consider alternatives, but both social media and traditional media are dominated by voices strongly averse to the political risks posed by a viable third candidate,” he added. “The new reality of social distancing levels the playing field among the candidates in many respects, but it also means lesser known candidates are more dependent on adequate media opportunities to reach people.”
Amash also pointed out that fundraising in the midst of the pandemic and economic downturn would be challenging and those challenges would hinder advertising, something a third-party candidate would need in order to make any kind of dent with the electorate.
He also pointed to uncertainly with Libertarian Party’s nomination process and ballot access as an issue.
“The Libertarian Party’s national committee members and delegates have worked diligently to organize the national convention but lingering uncertainty regarding ratification of online voting, the feasibility of 50-state ballot access and related legal challenges, and unity after the nomination have also weighed heavily on me. We must address these issues as a party to ensure we maximize our potential,” Amash stated.
Amash, 40, was first elected to represent Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District in 2010 after winning re-election three times as a Republican. He was an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and that opposition drew a primary challenge by Trump supporter, State Rep. Jim Lower. In a poll conducted in June of 2019, after Amash spoke in favor of impeachment, the incumbent congressman trailed Lower by 16 points.
He left the Republican Party on Independence Day, and voted in favor of both articles of impeachment against Trump in December.
Amash officially joined the Libertarian Party after announcing his presidential run, becoming the first Libertarian member of Congress.