Peters, a freshman first elected in 2014, had 2,721,207 votes, or 49.83% in unofficial Secretary of State returns. James, who also lost his 2018 election against U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing), had 2,636,895 votes, 48.29%. Peters’ margin is 84,312 votes or 1.54%.
That’s not nearly as close as the 2016 Michigan presidential election, where now-President Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes.
James’ advisers, like Stu Sandler, this week have spread voter fraud conspiracy theories, like in this tweet flagged by Twitter.
The idea that ballots miraculously showed up at TCF at 3:30am is voodoo. The tricks and shenanigans have to stop. The People of the State of Michigan have spoken. Let their voice be heard. Michigan elected it's first Black Senator, John James.
— stusandler (@stusandler) November 4, 2020
Another line of attack coming from GOP attorney Charlie Spies is that Peters didn’t immediately concede in his 2002 election for attorney general against Republican Mike Cox. Sandler was a longtime adviser to both Cox and his wife, Laura Cox, the Michigan GOP chair who also has pushed voter fraud conspiracies.
As MI voting process and irregularities are examined, I’m urging @JohnJamesMI to follow the “Peters Plan” (named after Gary Peters taking 20 days to concede his close election so votes could be examined). Only then can we be confident in process. Still #LetsFly ? ??
— Charlie Spies (@cspiesdc) November 7, 2020
However, the 2002 Cox-Peters election was far closer than the 2020 Peters-James election — or the 2016 Trump-Clinton election in Michigan.
Official 2002 results show Cox had 1,499,066 votes, or 48.86%. Peters had 1,493,866 votes, or 48.69%. That’s a difference between the candidates of 5,200 votes or .17%.
The election was held on Nov. 5 and Peters conceded on Nov. 26, 2002, without asking for a recount. Here’s part of the Michigan Daily story:
In one of the closest statewide races Michigan has seen in 50 years, 5,200 votes separated the candidates in the end.
While waiting for counties to check their tallies throughout this month, Peters left the door open for a recount. But after reviewing the results last weekend, he decided to accept defeat, he said yesterday in a written statement.
“Although I believe a recount would uncover additional anomalies and errors and further narrow the gap in this extremely tight race, I am not convinced a recount would alter the ultimate result,” he said. “Rather than subject the voters of Michigan to a protracted electoral and legal battle, I believe it is time to move forward.”