Republican Peter Meijer wins Amash’s House seat in Michigan

November 5, 2020 GMT
In this Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, Michigan's 3rd District Congressional Republican candidate Peter Meijer speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
In this Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, Michigan's 3rd District Congressional Republican candidate Peter Meijer speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
In this Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, Michigan's 3rd District Congressional Republican candidate Peter Meijer speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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In this Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, Michigan's 3rd District Congressional Republican candidate Peter Meijer speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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In this Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, Michigan's 3rd District Congressional Republican candidate Peter Meijer speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican Peter Meijer won the House seat left open in western Michigan after Libertarian Rep. Justin Amash decided not to seek reelection.

Meijer, of Grand Rapids, beat Democrat Hillary Scholten after additional votes were counted Wednesday, one day after the election. Meijer is a 32-year-old veteran who served in Iraq and later led humanitarian missions. He works in urban redevelopment and real estate. His family founded the Meijer chain of stores.

Meijer took to social media to thank “not just those in West Michigan who put their faith and trust in me, but also ... all who cast their vote and participated in this historic election. I’m honored & ready to get to work on behalf of all West Michiganders, and will not let you down.”

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Scholten is an immigration lawyer who previously worked at the Justice Department during the Obama administration.

“We may not have won tonight, but this isn’t the end of our fight for a better and bright West Michigan for all — including low-cost, accessible health care, clean water and an economy that works for everyone,” she said in a written statement.

Democrats who targeted the seat saw an opportunity to flip it with the departure of Amash, a former Republican who supported the impeachment of President Donald Trump. It has long been a GOP-leaning district but became heavily contested this cycle. Meijer was up by about 25,000 votes, or 6 percentage points, with all but one precinct reporting.

His last ad featured a Vietnam veteran saying he trusted that Meijer would protect people with preexisting health conditions.

In her closing TV ad, Scholten said she lives on a middle-class street with no millionaires — an indirect reference to Meijer’s wealth. She pledged to protect medical coverage, including for those with preexisting conditions, amid Republicans’ attempts to repeal the Obama-era health care law.

The campaign committees for House Republicans and Democrats spent millions of dollars attacking Scholten on immigration issues and Meijer on health care.

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