Advance Notice: Briefs

Michigan Trump Republicans endorse Amash challenger Langlois

By: - September 9, 2019 3:52 pm

Pro-Trump signs at an anti-Justin Amash rally in Grand Rapids, June 14, 2019

Businessman and Grand Rapids-area congressional candidate Joel Langlois has received the endorsement of a leading group of supporters of President Donald Trump. 

Langlois is running for the state’s 3rd Congressional District, currently held by newly independent U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (I-Cascade Twp.), a district based around Grand Rapids and Battle Creek. Before becoming an independent in July, Amash stood as the only Republican in Congress to call for Trump’s impeachment.

Langlois is holding a press conference in Grand Rapids Monday evening, which Trump Michigan 2016 campaign head Scott Hagerstrom is scheduled to attend.

Langlois owns the DeltaPlex Arena in Walker, a Northwest suburb of Grand Rapids. The facility hosted several Trump rallies during the 2016 campaign, something the Michigan Trump Republicans noted in its endorsement announcement. 

Joel Langlois | Campaign photo

“Joel is the only candidate in this race who has stood with our president since the beginning. He has vowed to continue to have President Trump’s back in Congress,” the group said in a statement. “At the same time Joel was helping the president win Michigan, some of the Republican candidates in this race were attacking him.”

The statement endorsing Langlois focuses on his rival GOP primary opponent, Army veteran and retail chain heir Peter Meijer. The group says Meijer should “be honest with voters about his ‘Never-Trump’ record,” and cites a 2017 opinion piece he authored challenging the White House’s “half-truths and lies” on the Afghanistan war, past political donations and other grievances. 

Peter Meijer in Grand Rapids | Nick Manes

In a text message on Monday afternoon, Meijer said he never sought the group’s endorsement due to his support for U.S. Senate candidate John James.

James last year beat Detroit businessman Sandy Pensler in a GOP primary, but went on to be defeated by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing). James is now running against U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) in 2020. 

The Michigan Trump Republicans group, Meijer said, is largely run by people with ties to Pensler’s campaign and “wouldn’t back me anyways.”

The announcement of support for Langlois made several attacks on Meijer, but made no mention of other GOP primary candidates, like state Reps. Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids Twp.) or James Lower (R-Greenville), who has made his support for Trump the key part of his campaign. 

The Lower campaign did not respond to a request for comment. 

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Nick Manes
Nick Manes

Nick Manes is a former Michigan Advance reporter, covering West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels.