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Politics

Meijer Beats Greek-American Afendoulis for GOP Nomination

DETROIT – Greek-American candidate for Congress in West Michigan’s 3rd District Lynn Afendoulis finished in second place in the Republican primary on August 4 losing to military veteran Peter Meijer who “had nearly 50 percent of the vote” with 67 percent of the precincts reporting, The Detroit News (TDN) reported.

State Rep. Afendoulis received 25 percent of the vote, TDN reported, adding that the Associated Press projected Meijer’s win and the “the Michigan Republican Party congratulated Meijer on what it called a ‘big victory.’”

Former Sand Lake Village Trustee Tom Norton got just 17 percent of the vote.

Meijer, “the 32-year-old grandson of the retail chain founder,” was viewed as “the favorite to win the heated GOP primary,” TDN reported, “but Afendoulis, 61, and Norton, 37, ran aggressive campaigns to try to upset Meijer in a five-candidate race.”

Michigan Republican Party chairwoman Laura Cox said, "Peter is a conservative veteran who will bring strong, stable, and effective representation to West Michigan — and never turn his back on us,” TDN reported.

Meijer described the results as a "resounding message that we are tired of playing the political games of the past," TDN reported.

"The time has come for a Republican party that offers solutions based on conservative values like limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty, to tackle issues in the present and the challenges sure to come," he added in a statement, TDN reported.

The 3rd District became national news when the current U.S. Rep. Justin Amash “who was re-elected as a Republican in 2018, publicly feuded with President Donald Trump and parted ways with the GOP,” TDN reported, adding that Amash “considered running for president as a Libertarian and running for re-election as a third-party candidate,” but “ultimately decided against both options, leaving the seat he's represented for a decade open.”

Amash had won the 3rd District in 2018 by 11 percentage points, “but Democrats argue the district is trending their way after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer two years ago won traditionally Republican Kent County — the largest county in the congressional district — and narrowly lost the district,” TDN reported, adding that “attorney Hillary Scholten of Grand Rapids, who has already locked up a handful of major liberal interest group endorsements, will be the Democratic nominee in the general election. Her nomination was uncontested Tuesday.”

Meijer “has argued that his policy focus, forward-thinking position on the environment and push to end wars in Iraq and Afghanistan make him the best candidate to try to keep the seat in GOP hands… but Afendoulis and Norton have questioned Meijer's dedication to the GOP president, labeling him a ‘never Trumper,’ an allegation he's denied on the campaign trial,” TDN reported.

Afendoulis was “first elected to the Michigan House in 2018,” TDN reported, noting that “she previously worked as director for corporate communications for Universal Forest Products.”

Jeff Schultz, 63, of Ionia County's Campbell Township voted for Afendoulis in the primary, noting that “the most important issues to him are the economy and protecting his retirement,” TDN reported.

"I just thought she was more honest," Schultz said, TDN reported.

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