A leading congressional critic of the National Security Agency, Justin Amash, successfully fended off political attacks on his patriotism on Thursday in a lively night of primary elections that also saw incumbents defeat a reindeer farmer from Michigan and radiologist who posted morbid X-rays on Facebook.
Amash – who led the first attempt in the House of Representatives to rein in the NSA after revelations of mass domestic surveillance by Edward Snowden – comfortably defeated Brian Ellis for the Republican party nomination in Michigan’s third district.
Ellis had campaigned heavily against Amash’s record on privacy issues and his separate calls for the closure of Guantánamo Bay, enlisting military veterans to record attack adverts that referred to him as “al-Qaida’s best friend in Congress”.
Amash’s well-funded challenger was also supported by powerful elements in Washington’s security establishment, including House intelligence committee chair Mike Rogers, making this primary election perhaps the first real test of public support for NSA critics at the ballot box.
In an emotional acceptance speech Amash demanded an apology from Ellis for running a “disgusting and despicable smear campaign” and claimed his win represented “a remarkable margin of victory” given the number of establishment interest groups against him.
“I think we sent a message loud and clear,” added the libertarian-leaning Amash after securing some 57% of votes cast against 43% for Ellis. “The people of this district want liberty.”
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/06/justin-amash-wins-michigan-republican-primary