Updated Apr 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Justin Amash forms exploratory committee for third-party presidential run

 Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) holds a Town Hall Meeting on May 28, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Rep. Justin Amash during a 2019 town hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) announced on Tuesday that he has "launched an exploratory committee" to seek the Libertarian Party's 2020 nomination for a possible third-party presidential run.

Why it matters: Amash gained notoriety last year when he came out as the lone House Republican to support the impeachment of President Trump following the publication of the Mueller report. He later switched his party affiliation to independent.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Margaret Talev: It is clear Amash wants to position himself as an alternative to President Trump, having criticized Trump's handling of the novel coronavirus response.

  • Amash had been considering a run for months, and in recent weeks this move looked more likely. If he wins the Libertarian Party's nomination, winning the presidency would be an extreme long shot — but third-party candidates have the potential to act as spoilers in close contests.

What he's saying:

"For something new. For a government that secures our rights. For equality before the law. For an end to cronyism. For a government that fulfills its purpose and recognizes its limits. For practical approaches based in humility and trust of the people. For an honest, principled president who will defend the Constitution and put individuals first."
— Justin Amash statement on his website

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper