Michigan Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James on Thursday refused to concede in his race against incumbent Sen. Gary Peters (D), despite The Associated Press and other news outlets projecting Peters as the winner, with James claiming that “Michiganders may have been disenfranchised.”
In a statement shared on Twitter on Thursday, James, an Army combat veteran and businessman, claimed that “while Senator Peters is currently ahead, I have deep concerns that millions of Michiganders may have been disenfranchised by a dishonest few who cheat.”
“While not everyone wins in an election, voters must be confident that the election was fair and honest,” James wrote. “Failure to do so, is the end of democracy.”
“When this process is complete, I will of course accept the results and the will of the people,” James added, “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.”
“Those who object likely have something to hide,” the Republican challenger argued.
According to The Detroit News, James’s attorney, Charlie Spies, made a complaint at a Thursday meeting of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers that he had “very serious concerns” about how the election was administered and overseen in the Democratic-dominated county.
Spies did not provide any specific evidence to support his claim, according to the Detroit outlet.
Spies also reportedly claimed that Republican poll watchers had faced intimidation and weren’t able to “meaningfully participate” in vote count monitoring.
“We have seen and we have witnesses that saw the mysterious appearance of ballots at the TCF Center that can’t be accounted for,” Spies said.
The Detroit News noted, however, that it is normal for ballots to show up to the center in separate batches, especially with the influx of mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
At a Thursday news conference, Peters officially declared victory in the race, adding that James’s refusal to concede was “sad” and “pathetic.”
“They lost,” Peters said to reporters at the Goodison Cider Mill in Rochester, Mich. “It’s very clear. Just count the votes. I understand Mr. James has been running for four years, he’s lost twice now. I understand that doesn’t sit well with him.”
Peters said at the news conference that he had not yet heard directly from James.
“This is where you see someone’s character,” Peters added. “And they come up and realize that they need to accept the vote of the people of the state of Michigan. I would hope that this nonsense could go away.”
The Hill has reached out to the Peters and James campaigns for comment.
According to AP projections, Peters won reelection by about 87,000 votes, or 1.6 percent, with almost all precincts reporting.
The election interference allegations from James come as President Trump’s reelection campaign has attempted to halt the counting of absentee ballots in Michigan.
Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens on Thursday dismissed the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, which alleged that Republican officials had been denied access to video of ballot drop boxes.
The AP and several networks have declared Democratic nominee Joe Biden the winner in the presidential race in Michigan.