New: MDP launches website to track James as 2020 campaign nears 

    John James (left) and Gary Peters (right) | Photos by Ken Coleman and Andrew Roth

    Roughly one year before the 2020 election, the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) on Tuesday launched a new website on Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James, the Advance learned exclusively. 

    The website,, aims to publish statements James, a Farmington Hills African American business owner, made and positions he took over the course of the 2018 cycle — including some he was caught deleting from his social media in the weeks after his loss, according to the MDP. 

    MDP website on John James

    During his U.S. Senate bid against incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) in 2018, James declared his “2000%” support for President Donald Trump. Stabenow went on to win a fourth term term, defeating James 52-46%.  

    James is the likely challenger to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) next year. The potential matchup is pivotal for control of the U.S. Senate. Trump won Michigan in 2016, but Democrats had big victories in 2018, including U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) and Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) flipping Republican seats. 

    “John James is trying to hide what he believes from voters and the fact is that his true positions would hurt Michigan — whether that’s supporting a president ‘2000%’ of the time or promising to repeal coverage protections for pre-existing conditions,” said MDP spokesperson Alex Japko. “Voters expect their senator to have the independence to stand up for what is right for our state and as shows, we cannot trust James to put Michigan first.”

    Website changes suggest James is running in 2020

    The site launches as Restoration PAC is spending almost $1 million in TV ads, with a much smaller digital buy, hitting Peters on the Green New Deal and linking him to progressives like U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The political action committee is primarily funded by Richard Uihlein, an Illinois businessman and GOP mega-donor.

    James is traveling the country to fundraise with mega-donors,” Japko added. “As he hides from voters, the Michigan Democratic Party will continue to reveal the truth about his record.”  

    Ken Coleman
    Ken Coleman reports on Southeast Michigan, education, civil rights and voting rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.