John James Stumbles Out of the Gate in Underwhelming First Week

Erased Beliefs, Skeptical Press Coverage, Phony Talking Points, And Sloppy Rollout Show James Remains a Deeply Flawed Candidate

LANSING — It’s been one week since failed Senate candidate John James launched his second campaign for Senate, and the sloppy mistakes are already starting to pile up. If the past seven days are any indication, James remains a deeply flawed candidate who’s on track to lose yet another Senate race. Here’s a roundup of the lowlights from James’ rough first week:

Deleting His Beliefs: James still hasn’t been honest about why he deleted hundreds of social media posts days after losing the 2018 Senate race, including videos in which he pledged his “2000%” support for Trump’s agenda and backed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It’s clear that James was desperate to delete his beliefs and hide his record so he could try to reinvent himself for another political campaign – and it’s a pattern that continued this week. Just yesterday, James was caught erasing Trump from his social media again, tweeting out a picture from a GOP event that clearly omitted out the large “TRUMP” balloons hanging behind him.

On the left is the photo James posted, and on the right is the photo we found:

ICYMI: the Michigan Democratic Party is running a new statewide digital ad campaign reminding voters of James’ erasing of hundreds of videos on his unpopular and harmful record. Watch “Erased” HERE.

Skeptical Michigan Press Coverage: Washington Republicans may be supporting him, but on the ground in Michigan people are raising significant questions about James’ decision to get into this race. Two columns ran in The Detroit News questioning whether James has what it takes to win and speculating that he is “squandering” his political career on an uphill battle. A former Republican lawmaker questioned whether James’ close ties to Trump would doom his candidacy. Even Fox News cast doubt on his electability, noting that he “got smoked pretty good” by Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

The Detroit News’ Nolan Finley: “[Republicans] may be squandering his future in pitting him against U.S. Sen. Gary Peters in 2020…The risk for James is that losing two Senate races in two years will label him a loser.”

The Detroit News’ Bankole Thompson: “That is why James is going to face another uphill task trying to convince the city’s majority-Democratic black voters that he is a better choice than Peters, who has long been courting Detroit going back to his days as the state’s lottery commissioner. James has a lot of explaining to do in Detroit regarding his lockstep loyalty to Trump and the policies of this era that have been challenging for many communities of color.”

Former GOP State Legislator Bill Ballenger: “James is a Trump Republican, he touts his connection to Trump, If you don’t like Trump and you’re an independent or moderate Republican, in Southeast Michigan or anywhere, why would you be so motivated to vote for Trump-lite when you’re not going to get out and vote for the real thing?”

Fox News: “James got smoked pretty good in 2018, losing to Stabenow by 6 points – 275,660 votes out of 4,237,271 cast…If Trump performs more like a typical Republican and loses Michigan by more than 100,000 votes, James will probably struggle to even replicate his 6-point defeat.”

Phony Talking Points, Few Facts: In typical fashion, James mostly ducked mainstream Michigan reporters and instead focused on taking softball questions from friendly supporters on talk radio. It was clear he’s not planning to run a campaign based on facts and hadn’t done his homework. Here’s a quick reality check on some of James’ political talking points:

Claim 1: “I’m looking forward to bringing the skill sets that I’ve developed, and a lot of this is not gonna be legislative…” [WOOD, 6/11/19]

Reality: Last time we checked, the United States Senate is part of the legislative branch. James might not understand the job he’s running for (again) but Gary Peters has been recognized as one of the most effective members for his record of getting legislative results in the Senate.

Claim 2: “Specifically what I think is left out is someone who truly understands the needs and concerns of Michigan. For instance, our cherry farmers up in the northern part of the state have been suffering…” [WOOD, 6/11/19]

Reality: Gary Peters is leading a bipartisan bill to address the challenges Michigan cherry growers are facing and crack down on foreign competitors using unfair trade practices. The Traverse City Record-Eagle Editorial Board lauded Peters just this week for his leadership on the issue.

Claim 3: “A lot of [the job] is just gonna be sitting down at a table with legislators in the Democrat party and the Republican party and saying, look, what can we do to make ourselves accountable to the people of the state of Michigan?” [WOOD, 6/11/19]

Reality: Gary Peters was just named one of the most bipartisan members in the entire Senate by the nonpartisan Lugar Center. He ranks as the third most bipartisan Senate Democrat. The idea that John James – who supports Trump’s agenda “2000%” – would be more effective at working across party lines is absurd.

Ducking Reporters, Sloppy Rollout: James’ announcement was supposed to be made on Fox News last Thursday morning. But his campaign stepped on their own announcement news, inadvertentlyrevealing the decision on his website the night before. On one of the few things a campaign has complete control over, James’ team still dropped the ball. After the announcement, James avoided the Michigan press corps at all costs, only granting interviews to friendly conservative outlets.

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