After easily defeating his primary challenger on Tuesday, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) delivered a scathing victory speech slamming his opponent for running a “smear campaign” against him.
“I ran for office to stop people like you,” Amash said, referring to his primary challenger, Brian Ellis.
“You owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign. You had the audacity to try and call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country," he continued.
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash celebrates his primary election victory over Brian Ellis at GP Sports inside the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Cory Morse)
Amash ended up defeated the Chamber of Commerce-backed Ellis by 14 points.
As the Washington Post points out, Ellis in one campaign ad cited a quote from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) claiming the Arab-American Amash is “Al Qaeda’s best friend in Congress.”
Amash also addressed Ellis supporter and former Congressman-turned lobbyist Pete Hoekstra, calling him a “disgrace.”
“I’m glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance,” he said to cheers.
Watch part of the fiery victory speech via WXMI-TV:
Amash was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2010 tea party wave that stunned the nation. Since then, he has routinely butted heads with the GOP establishment over issues like civil liberties, NSA surveillance and foreign policy.
Amash led an effort last year to defund the NSA’s massive surveillance program that gives the agency authority to indiscriminately collect phone records and metadata under the Patriot Act — unless it identified an individual under investigation. The bill was narrowly defeated 217-205 in the U.S. House.
Amash has been described by one pollster as a conservative with a “libertarian streak.” He has also takes pride in his perfect voting record. As of June 4, he had reportedly cast 2,500 consecutive votes. After votes, he takes to Facebook to explain to his constituents why he voted a particular way, which he says has been key to his goal of being transparent.
This story has been updated.