Former U.S. Senate candidate John James launches political committee

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

John James, the former U.S. Senate challenger and potential 2022 Republican gubernatorial hopeful, is launching a fundraising committee that will keep him involved in politics and allow him to financially support others seeking elected office.

The 39-year-old Farmington Hills businessman and U.S. Army veteran announced the creation of the Mission First, People Always political action committee on Wednesday morning. James will serve as the PAC's chairman.

Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James has launched a political action committee called Mission First, People Always.

"Combat leaders do not get to choose whether they accomplish the mission or bring their soldiers back to base; they are expected to do both," James said. "Business leaders do not get to choose whether they satisfy the customer or make payroll; they are expected to do both.

"Sadly, too few of our political leaders think this way. Mission First, People Always PAC will support candidates who bring this kind of balanced, real world leadership to American government."

Fox News first reported the new PAC. Paperwork was filed with the Federal Election Commission to form the committee on Monday.

At least three individuals, including James, have met with representatives of the Republican Governors Association in the past few weeks as the group looks to recruit an opponent for Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's 2022 expected re-election campaign, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the meetings.

James, who has established a national following, is the most well known among the potential GOP candidates for governor in Michigan. He has said little about whether he is considering running.

In February, James told The Detroit News his focus is on spending time with family and making sure his family's Detroit-based company, James Group International, is successful.

He emerged on Michigan's political scene ahead of the 2018 election when he lost to Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, by 6 percentage points but outperformed expectations.

In 2020, James again ran for the U.S. Senate, losing to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, by 2 percentage points, but outperforming fellow Republican President Donald Trump, who lost by 3 points in Michigan to Democrat Joe Biden.

In Kent County, the state's fourth-largest county and a longtime Republican stronghold, James did even better compared with Trump, who lost by 6 points there. James won the county by less than 1 point.