Citing coronavirus, Justin Amash announces he won’t run for president

Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., announced Saturday that he will not run in the 2020 presidential election due to challenges posed by the coronavirus during the campaign season.

“I’ve spent nearly three weeks assessing the race, appearing in media, talking to delegates and donors, watching the Libertarian Party’s convention plan unfold, and gathering feedback from family, friends, and other advisers,” Amash tweeted.

“After much reflection, I’ve concluded that circumstances don’t lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year, and therefore I will not be a candidate.”

Amash famously left the Republican Party amid strong disagreements with President Trump. After switching to “independent,” Amash joined House Democrats in voting to impeach Trump last year over his communications with Ukraine.

On Twitter, Amash indicated that the current pandemic would substantially hinder his ability to succeed as the Libertarian Party’s nominee.

“The new reality of social distancing levels the playing field among the candidates in many respects,” Amash tweeted, “but it also means lesser-known candidates are more dependent on adequate media opportunities to reach people.”

He added that “fundraising challenges posed by an idled economy will hinder advertising.” While he expressed confidence in the party’s future, Amash said that “lingering uncertainty regarding ratification of online voting, the feasibility of 50-state ballot access and related legal challenges, and unity after the nomination have also weighed heavily on me.”

Amash announced he had formed an exploratory committee in April after tweeting weeks earlier that voters who favored limited government deserved an option other than President Trump.

Trump responded by mocking Amash’s candidacy. “No, I think Amash would make a wonderful candidate, especially since he is way behind in his district and has no chance of maintaining his Congressional seat,” Trump tweeted in April. “He almost always votes for the Do Nothing Dems anyway.”

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