Amash fends off establishment challenger

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) has defeated his well-funded establishment challenger.

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The Associated Press has called the race for Amash, who led self-funding businessman Brian Ellis (R) by 55.5 percent to 45.5 percent with 56 percent of precincts reporting.

Amash, a libertarian hero, was an early target of business-minded Republicans in D.C. and Michigan furious over his Tea Party views and votes. 

But the two-term congressman won by leveraging a national fundraising network of libertarians and the support of conservative groups, including Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth, which both spent heavily on his behalf. 

He also benefitted from becoming the face of the civil libertarian push in Congress to restrict the National Surveillance Agency's gathering of information on Americans.

Ellis put in more than $1 million of his own money and ran brutal attacks accusing Amash of being "Al Qaeda's best friend." But he struggled throughout his campaign to build a narrative for why to defeat Amash, alternating between attacks that he wasn't conservative enough on abortion and foreign policy and ones that he didn't work well enough across the aisle.

The Chamber of Commerce didn't endorse Ellis until weeks before the primary and never spent on his behalf, though the Michigan Chamber of Commerce did.

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