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James at GOP convention: Democracy is 'all or nothing proposition'

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James pitched his vision for democracy as an "all or nothing proposition" during a pre-recorded address shown Monday during the Republican National Convention. 

The 39-year-old Farmington Hills businessman touted his family history — "from slave to share cropper, from mason to entrepreneur, to the door now of the U.S. Senate" — during the brief "candidate spotlight" ahead of the keynote speakers on the first night of the convention based out of Charlotte. 

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James speaks during the Republican National Convention in a recorded message shown Monday, Aug. 24, 2020.

In his remarks, James said the nation needed to find a path not just to economic recovery, but also to a "recovery of the American spirit that fuels our democracy."

"I too fought for this country and all Americans deserve to breathe free, not just cling tentatively to whatever freedom the government decides we deserve," the Iraq War veteran said from a spot along Lake Michigan.

"In 2020, we have a choice," he said. "To stand up and use our voices and our votes to defend our constitutional republic or to concede quietly to a leftist willing to tear it down piece by piece." 

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

James is running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township two years after an unsuccessful bid to flip the seat of Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing. The businessman became a favorite of President Donald Trump before losing to Stabenow by an unexpectedly low margin of 6.5 percentage points. 

As the convention began Monday, Peters announced the launch of a five-day, 1,000-mile motorcycle tour through Michigan starting Aug. 31 to meet with Michigan residents. The Democratic senator has done an annual summer motorcycle tour of the state. 

Three other Michigan natives will speak during the four-night convention that begins Monday in Charlotte. 

Among the featured Michigan speakers are Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel of Northville, former acting director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, a Muskegon native, and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, a Detroit native.

The convention will be streamed over Amazon Prime, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch and Facebook. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com