- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 2, 2020

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan on Friday officially became the first member of the Libertarian Party to serve in Congress after changing his political affiliation from independent.

Mr. Amash, a former Republican who left the GOP last year, recently sent a letter to the office of the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives changing his party affiliation.

His office told The Washington Times that the change took effect Friday, and the clerk’s website now lists Mr. Amash as the only member of Congress to be a registered Libertarian.

“It’s an important step for our young party, and I’m honored to be a part of it,” Mr. Amash said on Twitter early Saturday.

The Libertarian Party indicated in a statement that it hopes other politicians follow the congressman’s lead.

“We look forward to more members leaving their old parties that only care about scoring cheap political points — and not about the American people,” the party said on Twitter.

Mr. Amash, a 40-year-old Grand Rapids native, has represented Michigan’s 3rd congressional district on Capitol Hill since 2011.

He ran as a Republican each of the five times he successfully campaigned for Congress, but he left the GOP last July after becoming the first member of the party to call for impeaching President Trump.

“Modern politics is trapped in a partisan death spiral, but there is an escape,” Mr. Amash said in an op-ed when he first announced he was leaving the Republican Party.

More recently, he announced earlier this week that that he had paused his campaign for a sixth term in the House to instead pursue the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.

Speaking to Reason magazine late Tuesday, Mr. Amash said that he believed he would become the first Libertarian to serve in the either the House or Senate by switching parties.

“I don’t think there’s been another Libertarian in Congress, so I will be the first, and I’m happy to do that,” Mr. Amash told the outlet.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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