Top Trump ally says potential Amash presidential bid could be problematic in Michigan

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGiuliani draws attention with latest trip to Ukraine Overnight Defense: Suspect in Pensacola shooting identified as Saudi aviation student | Trump speaks with Saudi king after shooting | Esper denies considering 14K deployment to Mideast Trump speaks with Saudi king after Pensacola shooting MORE (R-Fla.), one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE’s top allies in the House, said if Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashAmash says he will vote in favor of articles of impeachment House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan MORE (R-Mich.) opts to run for president, it could have a negative impact on Trump’s ability to win the Great Lakes State in 2020. 

Amash — a staunch Trump critic and the sole Republican in the lower chamber to come out in favor of impeachment — previously said he hasn’t ruled out launching a third-party presidential bid. Gaetz said while he believes the potential bid could cause issues for the president in Michigan, he doesn’t see it being problematic in other states, noting Amash could potentially draw votes away from whomever ultimately become the Democratic nominee. 

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"I worry about the impact that an Amash candidacy has on Michigan. Beyond Michigan, I don't know that Justin would necessarily draw more votes from the Republican side than he would the Democrat side. I mean, remember, Justin's a guy who's been pretty consistently opposed to pro-Israel policy,” Gaetz told The Hill in an interview.  

“He has taken a lot of positions where he's the only Republican or one of the only Republicans voting with Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills MORE. So he may get some Democratic votes too. But within Michigan, where he has a brand within the Republican party, he could be a drain on the president.”

Gaetz said he believes, though Amash has not formally announced his decision, he will jump into the race despite Republicans urging him against it. Amash’s remarks on impeachment sparked strong pushback from other members of the Republican conference, with top members including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCNN Pelosi town hall finishes third in cable news ratings race, draws 1.6M Economy adds 266K jobs in November, blowing past expectations The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached MORE (R-Calif.) accusing the Michigan Republican of showboating and being "out of step with this conference" and "out of step with America." Members of the GOP have suggested the Michigan Republican will likely face a well-funded primary opponent for his congressional seat, something Gaetz suggested could factor into Amash’s decision to run.  

“I believe Justin Amash is in the race. I believe Justin Amash is running for president — I wish he wouldn't. I think Justin on a variety of issues, obviously, not impeachment, but on a variety of issues, is an important voice in the Congress. And I'll miss him on a lot of those votes and issues where a libertarian viewpoint is underrepresented in the Congress,” Gaetz continued. 

“But I think Justin sees the matching money for the Libertarian nominee, I think Justin sees a presidential field that he thinks is devoid of his unique voice and perspective. And I think Justin also knows that there's about the same likelihood that he's going to be reelected to the Congress that he's going to be elected President of the United States. So if you're going to lose, why not go big?”

Trump narrowly won Michigan in the 2016 election, beating Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonYang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations Top GOP legislator in California leaves party GOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties MORE by 10,704 votes. He was the first Republican to win the traditionally blue state since 1988.