Palestinian-American ex-congressman mulls US Senate run

Palestinian-American ex-congressman mulls US Senate run
Former US congressman Justin Amash, born to Syrian and Palestinian parents, says he is considering a run for senate in Michigan.
3 min read
Washington, DC
21 January, 2024
Former US Congressman Justin Amash is considering running for senate. [Getty]

Former US congressman Justin Amash, born to Syrian and Palestinian parents, says he is considering a run for senate in Michigan.

"I’ve been humbled in recent weeks by the many people who have urged me to run for Senate in Michigan and to do so by joining the Republican primary," Amash, who served in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2021, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday.

"They see what I see: contenders for the seat who are uninspired, unserious, and unprepared to tackle the chief impediment to liberty and economic prosperity—an overgrown and abusive government that strives to centralise power and snuff out individualism. The people of Michigan and our country deserve better," he continued, saying he was launching the an exploratory committee, as he considers joining the race.

"We need a principled, consistent constitutional conservative in the Senate—someone with a record of taking on the bipartisan oligarchy, defending sound money and free speech, fighting the surveillance state and military-industrial complex, and protecting all our rights. The stakes are high: freedom, social cooperation, and human progress itself," he concluded, adding that he invited public feedback.

The online response has been largely positive, with fellow libertarians sharing encouragement. Some Trump loyalists, meanwhile, reminded Amash that he was the lone Republican to vote to impeach Trump.

There hasn't been much of a response from Democrats, who generally reject libertarian ideology for its often purist stance against social welfare, which sometimes puts them to the right of Republicans.

Amash, who left the Republican Party while Trump was in office, supported Trump's impeachment and criticised his former party's handling of the Mueller report on alleged Russian Interference in the 2016 election.

He has an active social media presence and often engages in online discussions about topical issues, such as the protracted Republican House Speaker elections and the constitution.

In October, less than two weeks into Israel's war in Gaza, Amash shared that several of his relatives had been killed in an Israeli airstrike.

"With great sadness, I have now confirmed that several of my relatives (including Viola and Yara pictured here) were killed at Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza, where they had been sheltering, when part of the complex was destroyed as the result of an Israeli airstrike," he wrote on X on 20 October.

If he decides to run for senate, he will join a crowded race on both sides of the aisle, with 10 Republicans and five Democrats. The filing deadline for the race is 23 April.

Amash was born in Michigan to Atallah and Mimi Amash, both immigrants. His father's family was displaced by the 1948 Nakba. He met his wife through family friends in Damascus.