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U.S., Michigan chambers back James in Michigan Senate race

Sam Jones
The Detroit News

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce endorsed Republican challenger John James in Michigan's U.S. Senate race against Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peters. 

The two chambers are endorsing nearly three months earlier than they did in 2018, when the chambers supported the Farmington Hills businessman over U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing.  

"Michigan needs better and stronger leadership in the U.S. Senate, and that is why I am pleased to announce the Michigan Chamber's endorsement of John James for the U.S. Senate," Michigan Chamber CEO and President Rich Studley said in a statement. "James is an entrepreneur who is passionate about our state and country, and he will be a dynamic, energetic and effective leader in the U.S. Senate."

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James speaks during a rally in Pontiac  on Oct. 17, 2018.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents over 3 million businesses and organizations, while the Michigan Chamber of Commerce represents over 5,000 employers in the Great Lakes State.

The Senate needs more business-minded individuals and fewer career politicians in public office, James said in a statement welcoming the endorsement. 

"I am the walking result of the American Dream, but for too many people that dream may never become a reality," James said. "We must expand the tax base in this country, not only by creating more jobs, but by creating more job creators."

CJ Warnke, a campaign spokesman and press secretary for Peters, commented on the recent endorsements. 

“Sen. Peters’ top priority is building a strong economy to support small businesses, boost manufacturing and create good-paying jobs," said Warnke. "Peters has been ranked one of the most effective and bipartisan Democratic members of the Senate and recently received the Jefferson Hamilton Award for bipartisanship by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Michiganders know that Sen. Peters has a record of getting results and that’s why they’ll send him back to the Senate this November.”

In 2018, James lost to Stabenow by a smaller-than-expected margin of 6.5 percentage points. The Iraq War veteran has not been challenged in the Republican primary since announcing his candidacy. 

President Donald Trump's administration has been promoting the James candidacy.

Vice President Mike Pence ate lunch with James in Mount Clemens during a visit to Macomb County in mid-June. James, who runs an auto parts logistics company, also was at a Ford Motor Co. plant that Trump toured in May.  

sjjones@detroitnews.com