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Delaying certification, fixing flaws 'may not help me' but will help next candidate, James says in video

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James spoke out Sunday about challenging his election loss, repeating that he wants the state board of canvassers to delay certifying the election for two weeks to do an audit.

In a video released on Twitter, James said he's been working quietly on "separating credible leads from conspiracy theory" and believes the delay in certification is the best course of action.

"I submitted this request because I'm interested in the truth and protecting the integrity of our elections," said James, sporting a baseball cap and mustache, with a dark sky in the background.

The Board of State Canvassers is expected to meet Monday over certification of the election in Michigan.

James acknowledged the result of an audit was unlikely to change in the race against his opponent, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township. Peters defeated James 50%-48%, or by more than 92,000 votes, unofficial certified votes from Michigan's 83 counties found.

"But that's the problem: Politicians only do things that directly benefit them," he said on the video. "That's why we go from election to election and nothing ever gets fixed, because those in the best position to fix things are either emotionally exhausted or politically unmotivated.

"Fixing flaws may not help me, but it will certainly help the person who comes after me and it will definitely help Michigan."

The Farmington Hills Republican, who has made two runs for a Senate seat, has requested the Michigan Board of State Canvassers delay the statewide certification of votes to do an audit.

His comments follow repeated attempts by allies of President Donald Trump who have made unsupported claims of election irregularities and questionable votes across the country in an attempt to call in question the integrity of the election.

On Friday, Peters' campaign had sharp words for James.

"What two-time failed Senate candidate John James is doing is not only frivolous, it's dangerous and undermines the very foundation of our democracy," said campaign spokeswoman Vanessa Valdivia. "As he continues this sinister deception, it's clear James will put Trump before Michigan even past the bitter end."

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, has said the statewide election results must be certified before she can legally do an audit.

The James campaign and the Republican National Committee recently teamed up to form a legal fund as the Army veteran continues to contest Peters' win.

James said in the video that Democrats spent two years "investigating foreign interference" in the 2016 presidential election. "I'm just asking for a couple more weeks to investigate domestic irregularities," James said.

He cited allegations from Republican poll challengers of being bullied and intimidated, accusations Democrats and elections experts said were false.

"This is not some wacked-out fringe," James said.

lfleming@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2620

Twitter:@leonardnfleming