Justin Amash

Justin Amash Outraises Democratic and Republican Opponents in Fourth Quarter

The pro-impeachment libertarian independent has more cash on hand than any of his competitors.


The fourth quarter 2019 campaign disclosure reports that were due at the end of January brought some welcome news for embattled independent Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.): Despite being abandoned by some of his biggest historical backers, the pro-impeachment libertarian raised more money and has more in the bank than any of the Democrats and Republicans gunning for his Grand Rapids seat.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Amash raised $595,000 over the last three months of 2019, or almost as much as all the Republican contenders for the seat combined. Supermarket magnate Peter Meijer brought in $313,000 ($75,000 of which was a loan to himself), DeltaPlex Arena owner Joel Langlois netted $212,000 ($200,000 of which was a self-loan), and state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis announced $113,000.

In the cash-on-hand sweepstakes as of the end of 2019, Amash led $722,000 to Meijer's $557,000, Langlois's $333,000, and Afendoulis's $200,000.

What about the Democrats competing in MI-3? Social worker and immigration attorney Hillary Scholten raised $124,000, and had $207,000 cash on hand, while former Barack Obama aide Nick Colvin raised $101,000 and has just $60,000. Primaries for both major parties are scheduled for August 4.

The three-way race in this Republican-leaning but hard-to-characterize district has widely been seen by election forecasters as a toss-up or slight lean toward the GOP. When the Cook Political Report in December shifted its rating to lean-R, it cited Amash's third-quarter cash-on-hand number of $273,000, arguing that that was "far less than the GOP nominee is likely to be able to spend." Adding nearly a half-million to that pile in just three months might change that calculus.

Meijer and Langlois can indeed self-fund (Amash, in contrast, has not loaned himself any money), and Meijer in particular has last-name recognition due to his eponymous and popular supermarkets, but Amash has now shown that his spigot is not yet running dry. Both major parties are expected to pour money into the contest once the primaries are settled, giving a three-way scrum a chance at being among the most expensive in the country.

Reason has interviewed the self-described libertarian congressman several times over the years, most recently last July just after he left the GOP: