Tea Party–aligned Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) turned back a very heated primary challenge Tuesday night, winning with 57 percent to businessman Brian Ellis' 43 percent — and in his victory speech, he slammed Ellis for having the nerve to call him up on the phone to offer a friendly concession.
"To Brian Ellis, you owe my family and this community an apology — for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign," Amash said, as his supporters cheered him on, the local NBC affiliate reports.
It was indeed a nasty race, in which Ellis had the backing of business groups in a major effort by the party establishment to retake control of the GOP away from insurgents like Amash, in the wake of Amash's role in last year's government shutdown. As just one example, Ellis ran a TV ad that called Amash "Al Qaeda's best friend in Congress" for wanting to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay and opposing the NSA surveillance programs. And Amash was certainly not about to forget it.
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After the speech, in an interview with the channel, Amash stood by his harsh words against Ellis: "He's what wrong with politics, people like him. And I stood up to these people. You know, they lie, they smear, they distort, and then they think everything's fine afterwards — and it's not fine."
Here is a video of Amash's speech, via the NBC affiliate:
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