Peter Meijer, an Iraq war veteran and heir to a multibillion dollar fortune, has won the Republican primary for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District.
Meijer declared victory around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night, after early results showed him with a substantial lead over the other four Republicans running in the race. As of late Tuesday evening, Meijer had 49.7% of the votes, with more than two third of precincts in the district reporting. The next closest challenger was state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis, with 24.5% of votes at the time.
Because of a record number of absentee ballots in Michigan, the full, official results aren't expected until Wednesday morning.
"It’s no secret that right now is a challenging time," Meijer told supporters. "But I’m confident that together we can find those solutions, we can find a way through COVID, we can find a way through the economic unrest that’s already befallen us and emerge stronger out the other side."
The seat is currently held by Justin Amash, a former Republican who left the party after calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Amash briefly considered a presidential run as a Libertarian and dropped out of the race for reelection.
In November, Meijer will face off against Hillary Scholten, an immigration attorney who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Meijer is the grandson of Frederik Meijer, who founded the superstore chain that bears the family name. Peter Meijer served in the U.S. Army Reserves and was deployed to Iraq in 2010.
The 3rd Congressional District includes the city of Grand Rapids, which has elected only one Democrat to Congress in the past century. Richard VanderVeen represented the area from 1974-1977 following the Watergate scandal, and replaced Gerald Ford, who became President when Richard Nixon resigned.
This year’s race for the seat is listed as a toss up by RealClear Politics.