Justin Amash wins nod for Rep. Ehlers' open seat

Freshman state Rep. Justin Amash will likely succeed Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) after winning the GOP nomination in Michigan's 3rd district.

Amash, whose family owns an industrial tool business, had 40 percent of the vote with almost all precincts reporting, and was declared the winner by the Associated Press.

He filed to run the day before the 76-year-old Ehlers announced he was retiring Feb. 10. Ehlers was thought to be close to retirement last cycle, but he opted to seek a ninth term in Congress. However, his wife, Johanna Meulink, developed health problems, which may have influenced his decision to throw in the towel.
 
Amash, who also garnered support from local Tea Party groups, led state Sen. Bill Hardiman and former Kent County Commission chairman Steve Heacock in most of the polling done during the race. Heacock finished second with 26 percent of the vote, Hardiman in third with 24 percent.

Amash had the support of the Club for Growth, which bankrolled an ad against Hardiman that suggested he was supportive of Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Amash also outraised his two closest opponents. He pulled in a total of $379,000 for his bid, according to his pre-primary filing. Heacock took in $292,000 and Hardiman raised $148,000, according to their filings.
 
On the Democratic side, attorney Patrick Miles Jr. won the two-way contest against former Kent County Commissioner Paul Mayhue to clinch the nod.

The district is Republican-leaning and is expected to stay in the GOP column in November. 

—This post was updated and corrected at 12:33 p.m.