Amash's victory speech raises eyebrows in political circles

Updated: Thursday, August 7, 2014
Amash's victory speech raises eyebrows in political circles story image

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The day after U.S. Representative Justin Amash won the GOP 3rd district primary election, his victory speech is raising a few eyebrows.

In what some are calling a sore winner speech, Amash attacked his opponent, small-business owner Brian Ellis and demanded an apology.

Some national observers called the race for Congress the nastiest race in the country, so the ending might be fitting, with Amash continuing the attacks.

"This was a big, big win tonight, and I think we sent a message loud and clear," Amash said.

Not satisfied with just beating his opponent, in his victory speech, Representative Amash said he also wanted an apology.

"To Brian Ellis: You owe my family and this community an apology," Rep. Amash said. "For your disgusting, despicable smear campaign."

In a break from the traditions of a campaign, Amash didn't take Ellis' call on Tuesday night, and used  his speech to attack the challenger.

"You had the audacity to try and call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country," Rep. Amash said. "I ran for office to stop people like you."

"There was clearly some personal animosity that had developed over the course of the campaign between Justin Amash and Brian Ellis, not just at a professional level," said Western Michigan University political science professor Peter Wielhouwer.

Wielhouwer says the speech was a reflection of how contentious the whole campaign had been, but he says it appeals to some of Amash's supporters.

"Amash has really made his mark in American politics and Michigan politics by being contrarian, by not just going along to get along, and in part of that character...means it's okay to tick some people off," he said.

He says it also shows the fight in the Republican primary between establishment and more extreme Republicans when Amash attacked former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, who endorsed Ellis.

"I want to say to lobbyist Pete Hoekstra, you're a disgrace, and I'm glad we can hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance," Rep. Amash added Tuesday.

With the victory speech being so unique, it has been featured on political websites across the country and is generating a lot of discussion.

The Amash campaign said Wednesday that he has still not spoken to Ellis.

To see Amash's speech in full, click here.

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