2014-03-09T183512Z_1_CBREA281FNR00_RTROPTP_2_USA

Michigan race highlights Tea Party versus Establishment struggle

Justin Amash speaks at the LPAC conference in Chantilly, VirginiaBy Susan Cornwell GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (Reuters) – Over cocktails and chocolate-covered strawberries, a group of west Michigan Republicans gathered at a Tudor-style home in Grand Rapids and vented frustrations with Congressman Justin Amash and his Tea Party tactics that they blame for Washington’s gridlock. “The Republican establishment has lost confidence in Justin,” said Mark Bissell, chief executive of vacuum manufacturer Bissell Inc. “We’re sort of feeling like we’re not represented, because he is so far out there,” lamented small businessman Dan Bogo. The venue was a fundraiser last month for Amash’s Republican primary opponent, Brian Ellis, the head of an investment firm who bills himself as “West Michigan Nice” for his collaborative style. The contest in Michigan’s third district, for a congressional seat once held by President Gerald Ford, is emblematic of the nationwide struggle between the five-year-old Tea Party and more traditional Republicans who believe conservative upstarts like Amash have gone too far.

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