James campaign: Mailer erroneously argues to 'defend' sanctuary cities

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

The U.S. Senate campaign of John James is doing damage control Monday after a mailer was mistakenly sent out to a large sample of Republican primary voters saying he would "defend" — instead of defund — sanctuary cities.

Farmington Hills businessman and veteran John James

The mailer, which was meant to show how James, an Iraq combat veteran and Farmington Hills businessman, stands with President Trump on key issues such as opposing sanctuary cities. His GOP primary opponent, Grosse Pointe businessman Sandy Pensler, has run an ad saying James supports sanctuary cities because he gave a political donation to a Detroit council member who supports the idea.

In a video sent to supporters, James talked about the mishap by saying "something bad just went down." He said he owed it to people to "set the record straight" and that he expects his opponent will use it against him.

"In an effort to spread the word, there was a mistake made in one of our most recent and most critical mailers to absentee ballot holders," James said. "The final approved version was supposed to say, 'John James will stand with President Trump, secure the borders and DEFUND sanctuary cities."

The version that was sent to thousands of potential voters, James continued, "misspelled defund and instead, we ended up with defend. While we have evidence and emails chains proving that the final approved version, my opponent will more than likely seize on to this typographical error and use to validate his lies against me."

The James' campaign provided a corrected version of the mailer in which A2Z Printing apparently takes responsibility for the printing error, saying it "does not reflect John James’ true position to DEFUND Sanctuary Cities."

But Tom Shields, a spokesman for Pensler, said James will have to answer to the voters about the blunder and why he donated money to City Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, who supports sanctuary cities.

"Well, he's only made one political contribution in his life, and that was to a Detroit city councilwoman who is the strongest support for sanctuary cities in the city of Detroit," Shields said.

With a laugh about the mistaken ad, Shields then added, "I think John James is going to have to answer to the voters for his comments about defending sanctuary cities, the same way he's had to answer to the voters why his only political contribution he's ever made was" to sanctuary city supporter Castaneda-Lopez.

The new ad has DEFUND printed in all caps and red letters to emphasize James' stand, his campaign said.

Tori Sachs, James’ campaign manager, said Pensler is “lying about John’s record.”

“Sandy is a pro-choice liberal who supports socialized health care, trashed President Trump and donates to pro-abortion liberal candidates,” she said. “Sandy is the last person who should be attacking combat veteran John James, who put his life on the line to secure a border and protect Americans.”


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