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Peters wins Michigan US Senate race; James refuses to concede

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

Michigan Senator Gary Peters is returning to the Senate for a second term.

Peters, a Democrat, defeated Republican challenger John James in a tight contest. He won the race by less than 90,000 votes.

James will not concede. His campaign says it’s conducting its own informal “investigation” into vague and unsubstantiated claims of vote-counting irregularities, particularly in Detroit.

They cite some Republican poll challengers being denied entry to the absentee vote counting room at the TCF Center (some GOP challengers were present, and Detroit officials say all challengers couldn’t be admitted due to COVID-19 restrictions, and differing reports from election officials over the past two days about how many absentee ballots were left to count).

Peters dismissed those claims as desperate efforts to overturn the result.  “It’s sad and it’s pathetic,” he said. “They lost. It’s very clear. Just count the votes.”

Peters said he’ll represent everyone in the state, including those who didn’t vote for him.

“I hope after this election is over, and what we have seen these last few years of division and hyper-partisanship, that that’s just not healthy for this country,” he said. “This country has to come together, particularly right now when we’re in the middle of this pandemic.”

Peters said the Senate’s top priority should be to pass another COVID-19 relief package during the lame duck session. He expressed optimism about that, despite the fact that Republicans appear poised to continue being the majority in the Senate.

“There’s no question that number one priority for us is to get through this pandemic,” Peters said. “Nothing is more important for our country right now, or for the people of Michigan, than to get through the pandemic. We’ve got to have a national strategy.”

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Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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