Peters accepts victory in Michigan Senate race, James refuses to concede

    U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) accepted victory in his reelection race Thursday, which has been called by the Associated Press.

    “Through all of the noise and all of the smears and all the negative ads, Michigan voters cut through all of that and said we want a practical, common sense problem solver,” Peters said. “Someone who’s going to roll up their sleeves, go to Washington, and work to get things done.”

    Peters was running against Republican businessman John James, who previously lost to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) in 2018.

    But James, who ran closer races than expected against both Stabenow and Peters, refused to concede the election, citing, without evidence, possible voter fraud.

    “While Senator Peters is currently ahead, I have deep concerns that millions of Michiganders may have been disenfranchised by a dishonest few who cheat,” James said.

    Peters, Slotkin, Meijer win in close contests

    “When this process is complete, I will of course accept the results and the will of the people, but at this time there is enough credible evidence to warrant an investigation to ensure that elections were conducted in a transparent, legal and fair manner. Those who object likely have something to hide.”

    James did not provide evidence for the claim.

    James had previously retweeted a tweet from GOP consultant Stu Sandler prematurely claiming victory in the race and arguing that counting ballots was “stalling the process and cheating the system.”

    Peters called the allegations “sad and pathetic.”

    “They lost. It’s very clear. Just count the votes,” Peters said. “I understand Mr. James has been running for four years. He’s lost twice now. So I understand that doesn’t sit well with him. But this is where you see someone’s character, when they come up and realize that they need to accept the vote of the people of the state of Michigan.”

    James lost to Peters by more than 87,000 votes.

    John James, Michigan GOP Senate candidate, speaks at an election night event after winning his primary election at his business James Group International August 7th, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    President Donald Trump has also made unfounded claims of possible voter fraud, tweeting to “STOP THE COUNT!” and “STOP THE FRAUD!” (If ballots were to stop being counted when the president tweeted that, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would win with 270 electoral votes.)

    Republican congressional candidate Erik Esshaki, who lost to U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester), also refused to concede his race on Thursday, saying he wants “all the legal votes to be counted and verified for accuracy,” something that is already in the process of happening. The AP called the race for Stevens Thursday morning.

    Peters echoed the messaging of Biden, saying that the country needs to heal.

    “This country has to come together, particularly right now, when we’re in the middle of this pandemic,” Peters said. “This is a significant crisis. And the way we have always gotten through crises in the past in this country – and we’ve had many very significant crises we could go through – every time we come together as a country, every time we come together as Michiganders, and understand that is our strength when we all lock arms together, we can get through anything.”

    Andrew Roth
    Andrew Roth is a regular contributor to the Michigan Advance. He has been covering Michigan policy and politics for three years across a number of publications and studies journalism at Michigan State University.