John James, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, speaks at a reelection rally for President Donald Trump in Freeland, Michigan on September 10, 2020. Dominick Sokotoff/Daily.  Buy this photo.

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate John James conceded his race against incumbent U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., on Tuesday night after the Board of State Canvassers certified election results the day before. 

In a video posted to social media, James acknowledged it was time to accept Peters’s victory.

“Now, the reason we’re here: the results of the election were certified yesterday,” James said. “I am happy that the Board of Canvassers, led by Norm Shinkle, asked the legislature to take a top-down review of election law. But it’s too late for me. While I look forward to participating in efforts to secure both reasonable franchise and integrity in our election in the near future, today is the right time for me to congratulate Senator Gary Peters.”

The results of all 83 Michigan counties were certified Monday, almost three weeks after the Nov. 3 election. Three board members voted in favor with one — Republican Norman Shinkle — abstaining. This comes after Republicans, including James and the Trump campaign, which filed multiple lawsuits in Michigan, sought to cast doubt on the validity of the state’s elections. The GOP efforts to delay certification brought national attention to a typically low-stakes administrative procedure, sparking accusations of racism and concerns about disenfranchisement.

On Friday, Republican state lawmakers met with President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., stoking fears that the president would try to influence the state’s allotment of its 16 electoral votes, which President-elect Joe Biden won by a significant margin. Trump has not yet publicly conceded to Biden nor congratulated him on his victory.

Michigan Republicans and the national party sought to delay certification of the general election results to investigate unfounded allegations of voter fraud. James, who lost to Peters by more than 90,000 votes, joined in, saying out-of-balance precincts in the city of Detroit and Wayne County, which is the state’s most populous county and a Democratic stronghold, were cause for concern.

Democrats, state officials and election workers have repeatedly said the claims of voter fraud were not true and judges have tossed out numerous Republican lawsuits alleging widespread misconduct, calling the cases frivolous and unsubstantiated.

James lost a previous run for Senate against Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in 2018. While it is unclear whether he plans to make another bid for office in the future, he concluded the video posted Tuesday by emphasizing there is more work to be done.

“Michigan, the 2020 battle for this Senate seat is over, but the battle for the future of this great country will never be over,” James said. “I will never retire from that battlefield, ever, and neither should you. … I know that giving up is not in your DNA. There are too many people hurting. There is too much work to do.”

The race was one of the most expensive Senate contests in the country during the 2020 election, with outside political groups pouring money into the state. Throughout the campaign, Peters and James tried to label each other as extremists in their respective parties, despite Peters touting his bipartisan record and James pledging that, if the situation called for it, he would stand up to Trump, who he campaigned with repeatedly in the lead-up to the election.

Peters initially declared victory on Nov. 4, after various media outlets called the race in his favor. He thanked voters for supporting him and pledged to work on behalf of Michigan.

“As we look ahead, I am energized to keep working to move our state forward and continue putting Michigan first,” Peters said in a statement earlier in the month. “Most of all, I want to extend my gratitude for all of our hardworking election officials and every single person who believed in me, who believed in our mission and volunteered their time and efforts into fighting for a better future.”

When the Board of State Canvassers certified the results, Peters reiterated his calls to move ahead in a press release on Monday.

“The election is over and it’s time for everyone to move forward,” Peters said.

Daily Staff Reporter Emma Ruberg can be reached at

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