Republican John James reports raising $1.5M for U.S. House race

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Republican John James raised $1.5 million in the first 60 days of his race for a Metro Detroit seat in the U.S. House, according to his campaign.

James, a former U.S. Senate candidate and a businessman from Farmington Hills, will file his first disclosure of his new bid for Congress on Friday. But his campaign said his cash haul, which is a significant total, will likely place him among the top non-incumbent candidates for the U.S. House nationwide in fundraising.

He's seeking the new 10th District seat in the House, which covers portions of Oakland and Macomb counties. It's expected to be a competitive contest with Democrats also hoping to win in November.

"This is a people-focused, people-driven, people-always campaign," James said in a statement. "Their encouragement, input, time and financial support is what makes this campaign possible, and I promise to use my blessings and my real-world skills in the military and in supply chains to bring down the cost of living and keep our neighborhoods and our nation safe."

U.S. Senate candidate John James pumps up the crowd before his speech.

James, 40, launched his campaign for the U.S. House on Jan. 31. The new fundraising disclosure covers through the end of March.

The Republican's financial total for the period appears to have eclipsed that of U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Democratic incumbent in Michigan who is known for her fundraising prowess. The Washington Examiner reported Slotkin raised more than $1.3 million over the first three months of the year. She's seeking reelection in the Lansing-based 7th District.

Over a similar period before the 2018 election, when Slotkin first won her seat, her campaign reported raising $801,000.

The new 10th District, where James is campaigning, features Rochester Hills, Warren and Sterling Heights. The U.S. Army veteran had been recruited by national Republicans to run for the seat, and he's been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

James faces Tony Marcinkewciz of Macomb Township in the August GOP primary, after attorney and former U.S. House candidate Eric Esshaki of Birmingham dropped out and endorsed James in February.

James unsuccessfully sought seats in the U.S. Senate in Michigan in both 2018 and 2020. He outperformed expectations against Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, in 2018 before losing by less than 2 percentage points to Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, two years later.

Those high-profile Senate races have provided James with a state and national donor base that is now boosting his campaign in a key U.S. House district.

The majority of the money James raised for his U.S. House bid came through his campaign committee but a portion of it was collected by his joint fundraising account, according to his campaign.

Five Democrats are in the running for their party's nomination in the 10th District. The field includes former Judge Carl Marlinga of Sterling Heights, Sterling Heights City Council member Henry Yanez and Warren City Councilwoman Angela Rogensues

Democrat Huwaida Arraf, a civil rights attorney in Macomb Township who's also running in the 10th, submitted her petition signatures in hopes of getting on the ballot Wednesday.

Standing outside the Department of State office in Lansing, Arraf said James is a "formidable" candidate, but she noted he doesn't live in the new 10th District.

"He has millions to run this race," Arraf said. "That's not how we're running. Of course, we need to do the fundraising, but it's about the network. It's about the excitement. It's about reaching out to people who don't traditionally believe in getting involved in politics."

Arraf added that she believes her "grassroots operation" can beat James in November.

cmauger@detroitnews.com