Businessman John James, who gave incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow a serious challenge in 2018, announced he will run for the Senate again in 2020 against another incumbent, Gary Peters.
James, whom Trump called “a rising star,” garnered more statewide votes than any other Republican in Michigan in the last decade. At age 37, he has shown himself to be an adept politician, running as a conservative in a state where Democrats have dominated for decades. Trump won Michigan in 2016, but only by the razor-thin margin of 11,000 votes out of more than five million cast. It’s widely believed that Trump absolutely has to have Michigan if he is going to win re-election.
“We are heading in the wrong direction as a country and our leaders in Washington are failing to lead us toward a better and brighter future. I believe I can help lead Michigan toward that future we deserve, and that’s why I am running for US Senate,” James tweeted.
He also sent an email to supporters saying, “my service to this nation is not over.” He’s a West Point grad who served eight years in the military, including two tours in Iraq.
James appeared on “Fox and Friends this morning:
“I understand what we need to do, because I have experience as a business leader, as a job creator, how to protect our economy from socialism, how to bring people together and unite people to make sure that we can defeat the evils that face us today,” James said.
“I also, as a combat veteran, understand the service and sacrifice that our veterans make every single day and [am] willing to stand up for this country, not any party, not any ideology.”
Surprisingly, Senator Peters pointed out in a statement how the president had signed several of his legislative initiatives into law:
Peters’ campaign released a statement in response to James’ entrance into the race by noting how Trump signed some of Peters’ legislative efforts into law, including a law protecting the intellectual property and patents of small businesses.
“I’m focused on continuing to deliver results for Michigan,” Peters said. “I’ll keep working with anyone to improve life for Michiganders, whether it’s to expand training programs so everyone has the skills needed to find good-paying jobs, protect our Great Lakes or lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs.”
Peters is simply recognizing the political reality in Michigan — that Trump is still very popular despite two years of hysterical criticism from Democrats. If James manages to get the GOP nod, his presence on the ballot gives Trump a proven vote-getter to run alongside.
Nevertheless, Trump campaign aides are worried that a James run for the Senate might energize Democrats in the state to come out and oppose the president. That may be a legitimate risk, but it must be balanced against a solid opportunity to flip a Senate seat by defeating first-termer Peters. At the very least, James won’t be a drag on the ticket.
It’s been 20 years since a Republican won a Senate seat in Michigan. It appears that Mr. James has a legitimate shot to break that streak.