Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash.
Well, that was fast. Less than three weeks after announcing he was exploring running for president as the Libertarian Party candidate
, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash has now dropped out of the race. The former Republican and Grands Rapids-based Congressman made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday.
"After much reflection, I’ve concluded that circumstances don’t lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year, and therefore I will not be a candidate," Amash wrote. "This was a difficult decision for me, especially having seen grassroots supporters put so much effort into this campaign. It’s been humbling and awesome."
Amash added that intense polarization between the two major parties and the coronavirus pandemic present "extraordinary challenges."
"The new reality of social distancing levels the playing field among the candidates in many respects, but it also means lesser known candidates are more dependent on adequate media opportunities to reach people," he wrote. "Today, most Americans are understandably more interested in what life will look like tomorrow than they are in broader policy debates, and news coverage has reflected those priorities. At the same time, fundraising challenges posed by an idled economy will hinder advertising."
Nevertheless, Amash said he believes "the Libertarian Party is well-positioned to become a major and consistent contender to win elections at all levels of government."
"I remain invested in helping the party realize these possibilities and look forward to the successes ahead," he added.
You can read the entire Twitter thread here
On the one hand, we're bummed Amash is throwing in the towel already. We were looking forward to someone who could challenge Donald Trump from the right, as well as push both Trump and presumed Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden on issues like marijuana legalization
. On the other hand, we admit it was pretty clear that Amash wasn't likely to push through the noise of the turbulent 2020 election in any meaningful way.
We knew things were bad when Bill Gelineau, who ran as the Libertarian Party candidate for Michigan's governor in 2018
, told us he would vote for Biden over Amash, saying that he believed the most important thing was defeating Trump in 2020.
It's unclear what Amash's next move will be. He's up for re-election for his House seat, but faces a crowded field of both Republican and Democratic challengers.
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