Libertarian-leaning Republican Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan’s third congressional district was an early and loud supporter of Sen. Rand Paul’s quest for the Republican nomination in 2016. Now, with Sen. Paul having dropped out of the race, Amash has announced that he is shifting his support to Sen. Ted Cruz.
“It’s easy to withdraw from politics when the positions and priorities of the candidates do not precisely mirror our own. But we owe it to our beliefs to find constitutional conservative political allies who not only respect our philosophy but also fight for our views to be heard,” wrote Amash in a Tuesday op ed in the Independent Journal Review. “We have found such an ally in Senator Ted Cruz.”
Amash noted that Cruz “is not a libertarian and doesn’t claim to be,” but referred to him as a “principled defender of the Constitution, a brilliant strategist and debater who can defeat the Democratic nominee in the general election, and the only remaining candidate I trust to take on what he correctly calls the Washington Cartel.”
The Michigan congressman pointed to the possibility that the next president might ultimately nominate a replacement for recently-deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as part of his rationale in choosing Cruz, who once served as a Supreme Court clerk and many times argued cases before its justices.
“Since Ted arrived in the Senate, he has stood shoulder to shoulder with the House Freedom Caucus, of which I am a member. Ted has consistently led the fight in the Senate against the Washington Cartel’s trillion-dollar omnibus spending bills,” Amash wrote. He also noted that Cruz won Iowa while expressing opposition to ethanol subsidies “even though pundits warned that no one could win the state without pandering to the ethanol lobby.”
On foreign policy and civil liberties, Amash said he does not always see eye-to-eye with Cruz but noted that the Senator from Texas opposed military intervention in Libya and generally opposes overseas national building policies. He also pointed out that Sen. Cruz battled in the Senate against indefinite detentions of U.S. citizens and CISA, which Amash referred to as “a cyberspying bill that violates the privacy of all Americans.”
“To defend liberty, we must defend our Constitution. I’m supporting Ted because, knowing him personally and having served with him in Congress over the past few years, I trust him as a conservative ally who consistently listens to my perspective and stands firm for what he believes is right,” concluded Amash.
Fox 17 West Michigan notes that presidential primary voting is set to take place in Amash’s home state of Michigan on March 8.
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