GOP Rep. John James won’t seek Michigan’s open Senate seat

Feb 23, 2023, 4:30 PM | Updated: Feb 24, 2023, 4:49 pm
Rep. John James, R-Mich, addresses the audience after being sworn into office, Friday, Feb. 24, 202...

Rep. John James, R-Mich, addresses the audience after being sworn into office, Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, in Warren, Mich. James is opting against a campaign for the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Debbie Stabenow in 2024. James filed paperwork Friday to run for reelection to his Detroit-area House seat. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

(AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

DETROIT (AP) — Republican Rep. John James filed paperwork Friday to run for reelection to his Detroit-area House seat, opting against a campaign for the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Debbie Stabenow in 2024.

James, a 41-year-old first-term representative and rising star in the party, had been considered one of Republicans’ most promising potential Senate candidates. He ran unsuccessfully for the Senate twice before, losing to Stabenow in 2018 and to Democratic Sen. Gary Peters in 2020.

Those two statewide bids raised James’ name recognition before he won his House seat in last year’s midterms, becoming Michigan’s first Black Republican member of Congress. He has been a frequent guest on conservative media outlets and a strong fundraiser.

Following an event in Detroit on Friday, James told The Associated Press that his focus on his House district “has been unwavering.”

Stabenow announced in January that she would not seek a fifth term, raising the stakes of the contest in the presidential battleground state and giving new hopes to Republicans as they try to retake control of the Senate in 2024. Democrats currently hold a 51-49 advantage in the chamber.

Nikki Snyder, a Republican State Board of Education member, this month became the first candidate to announce a run for Stabenow’s seat, but a high-profile candidate has yet to enter the race.

On the Democratic side, Reps. Elissa Slotkin and Debbie Dingell, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist have been discussed as potential candidates. Former Rep. Peter Meijer, who lost his Republican primary last year after voting to impeach then-President Donald Trump in 2021, is still considering a GOP run for the seat.

James’ decision to seek reelection thins an already small Republican bench of potential Senate candidates in Michigan after the party suffered sweeping losses in statewide and congressional races in November’s midterms. Republicans have taken just one of Michigan’s last 15 Senate races, winning an open seat in 1994.

James only narrowly won his race last year, defeating Democrat Carl Malinga by fewer than 2,000 votes despite outraising him by nearly $6 million.

His 10th Congressional District seat, which was recently redrawn to include a chunk of Macomb County and a small portion of Oakland County, is expected to once again be competitive in 2024 and could be critical to Republicans’ chances of maintaining a slim majority in the U.S. House.

Michigan Democratic Chair Lavora Barnes said in a statement to The Associated Press that the party is “aggressively working to flip the 10th congressional district blue.”

In his less than two months in Congress, James has been named vice chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment and delivered a prominent speech on the House floor last month to nominate Kevin McCarthy as speaker.

Over five generations, James said in the speech, “My family’s gone from slave to the floor of the United States House of Representatives,” now seeing him become the first in his freshman class of lawmakers to address the full House.


Associated Press writer Sara Burnett in Chicago contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Evelyn Knapp, a supporter of former President Donald, waves to passersby outside of Trump's Mar-a-L...
Associated Press

Trump legal woes force another moment of choosing for GOP

From the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his first presidential campaign, a searing question has hung over the Republican Party: Is this the moment to break from Donald Trump?
1 day ago
FILE - The Silicon Valley Bank logo is seen at an open branch in Pasadena, Calif., on March 13, 202...
Associated Press

Army of lobbyists helped water down banking regulations

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Red-state Democrats facing grim reelection prospects would join forces with Republicans to slash bank regulations — demonstrating a willingness to work with President Donald Trump while bucking many in their party.
1 day ago
FILE - This Sept. 2015, photo provided by NOAA Fisheries shows an aerial view of adult female South...
Associated Press

Researchers: Inbreeding a big problem for endangered orcas

People have taken many steps in recent decades to help the Pacific Northwest's endangered killer whales, which have long suffered from starvation, pollution and the legacy of having many of their number captured for display in marine parks.
2 days ago
FILE - Hiring signs are displayed at a grocery store in Arlington Heights, Ill., Jan. 13, 2023. Emp...
Associated Press

Pay transparency is spreading. Here’s what you need to know

U.S. employers are increasingly posting salary ranges for job openings, even in states where it’s not required by law, according to analysts with several major job search websites.
2 days ago
Meadowdale High School 9th grade students Juanangel Avila, right, and Legacy Marshall, left, work t...
David Klepper and Manuel Valdes, Associated Press

Seattle high school teacher advocates for better digital literacy in schools

Shawn Lee, a high school social studies teacher in Seattle, wants to see lessons on internet akin to a kind of 21st century driver's education, an essential for modern life.
2 days ago
South Carolina Senators hear from the parents of people who died from fentanyl overdose on Jan. 19,...
Associated Press

With overdoses up, states look at harsher fentanyl penalties

State lawmakers nationwide are responding to the deadliest overdose crisis in U.S. history by pushing harsher penalties for possessing fentanyl and other powerful lab-made opioids that are connected to about 70,000 deaths a year.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
GOP Rep. John James won’t seek Michigan’s open Senate seat