Peters Says James’ Refusal To Concede Election ‘Pathetic’
Celebrating his reelection, Sen. Gary Peters on Thursday pledged to fight for Democratic values and be bipartisan in his second term while saying it was “sad” and “pathetic” that Republican challenger John James had refused to concede defeat.
James, without citing evidence, issued a written statement saying he had “deep concerns that millions of Michiganders may have been disenfranchised by a dishonest few who cheat.” Peters, who won, was up by about 87,000 votes, or 1.6%, with almost all precincts reporting.
Peters laughed off James.
“It’s sad and it’s pathetic,” he told reporters at an event at a Rochester cider mill. “They lost. It’s very clear. ...This is where you see someone’s character, that they come up and realize that they need to accept the vote of the people of the state of Michigan. That’s the bottom line.”
Charlie Spies, the James campaign’s lawyer, raised “very serious concerns” to the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, which met to begin the process of certifying the votes. He claimed the “mysterious appearance” of ballots at the TCF Center in Detroit that “can’t be accounted for,” alleged that Republican challengers were excluded from watching vote counting and said he had not been able to review surveillance video to ensure ballot drop boxes were secured when polls closed.
A Michigan judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit by the campaign of President Donald Trump — who also lost here — in a dispute over whether Republicans had access to the handling of absentee ballots.
“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,” James said.
Peters, who won by 13 percentage points in 2014, said there was “nothing surprising” about how close the contest was in 2020 given Michigan’s battleground status. Trump narrowly won four years ago.
Peters became emotional when thanking his family for their support. He said he is a “proud Democrat” but will continue reaching across the aisle. The country, he said, must “come together” after the election.
Peters said his top priority is addressing the coronavirus pandemic. He said he will push for the Senate to pass a fifth rescue package this year and, if it does not happen, “we’ll try it when we have a Biden administration.”