John E. James

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John James
John James.png
Personal details
Born (1981-06-08) June 8, 1981 (age 38)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Elizabeth James
EducationUnited States Military Academy (BS)
University of Michigan (MBA)
Pennsylvania State University (MS)
WebsiteCampaign website

John Edward James (born June 8, 1981) is an American businessman and combat veteran, and was the Republican nominee for United States Senate for Michigan in 2018.

James was born in Detroit, Michigan. At age 17, James enrolled in the United States Military Academy and after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 2004, he served for eight years in the United States Army. After he was discharged, James started work on his family business and received master's degrees at Penn State and the University of Michigan.

He was the Republican candidate for Michigan in the U.S. Senate election in 2018, but lost to the incumbent, Debbie Stabenow. James is a candidate for the U.S. Senate in the 2020 election in Michigan.

Education and military service[edit]

At age 17, James enrolled in the United States Military Academy, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 2004 and became an Army Rangers-qualified aviator.[1] He served for eight years in the United States Army, participating in multiple tours of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was an Apache pilot.[2][3]

James received a Masters of Supply Chain Management and Information Systems degree from Pennsylvania State University and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan.[1]

Business career[edit]

In 2012, James joined James Group International, where his father, John A. James, was the CEO. James Group is a global supply chain management service company; James became its director of operations and eventually became president of JGI and CEO of Renaissance Global Logistics.[4]

James was named one of the Detroit Business Journal 30 in their 30s of 2012, and Michigan Chronicle 40 under 40 of 2014.[5] He serves as a board member of the Michigan Council for Future Mobility, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, National Veteran Business Development Council and Detroit Workforce Development Board.[6]


2018 U.S. Senate race[edit]

In September 2017, James entered the Republican primary for 2018 United States Senate election in Michigan [7] in an attempt to unseat three-term incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow as well as become Michigan's first African American senator. Despite musician and Michigan native Kid Rock publicly toying with the idea of running for the seat for months, the primary came down to James and Grosse Pointe businessman Sandy Pensler.[8] James was endorsed via Twitter by President Donald Trump on July 27, 2018, eleven days before the GOP primary.[9] James won the GOP nomination with 55 percent of the vote.[10]

On November 6, 2018, James was defeated by incumbent Debbie Stabenow by a margin of 6.54%. He was the first Republican Senate candidate in Michigan to come within 10 percentage points of winning since Republican Spencer Abraham lost his reelection bid in 2000.

Prospective UN ambassadorship[edit]

In late November 2018, Bloomberg News reported that President Trump was considering nominating James to become the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, to replace Ambassador Nikki Haley, who previously announced that she was planning on leaving the Trump administration by the end of 2018. James reportedly met at the White House with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.[11] James was ultimately bypassed for the position, as Trump announced on December 7, 2018, that he would nominate Heather Nauert, the Spokesperson for the United States Department of State and a former TV reporter to succeed Haley.[12] Nauert was never formally nominated for the role by President Trump and announced on February 16, 2019, that she was removing her name from consideration.[13]

Following this, James was reported again to be a candidate for the ambassadorship, with news reports indicating that President Trump was "...very impressed by him ... and sees [James] as a rising star."[14] He again was passed over for the job with Trump announcing that he would nominate United States Ambassador to Canada Kelly Knight Craft for the post.[15][16]

2020 U.S. Senate Race[edit]

Because the election margin in the 2018 Senate race was smaller than expected, in November 2018 James became a front-runner for the Republican nomination to take on Michigan's other incumbent Democratic senator, one-term senator Gary Peters, in the 2020 election.[17][18] In June 2019, it was reported that in addition to being recruited to take on Peters, the National Republican Congressional Committee was recruiting James to challenge freshman Democratic U.S. Representative Haley Stevens in Michigan's 11th congressional district.[19]

On June 6, 2019, James announced that he was seeking the GOP nomination in 2020 to take on Peters.[20] Michigan is one of two states where an incumbent Democratic senator will be seeking re-election in 2020 in a state won by Trump in 2016.

Electoral history[edit]

2018 United States Senate election in Michigan Republican Primary [21]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John James 518,564 54.7
Republican Sandy Pensler 429,885 45.3
Republican William White (write-in) 57 .01
2018 United States Senate election in Michigan[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Debbie Stabenow (incumbent) 2,214,478 52.26 -6.54%
Republican John James 1,938,818 45.76 +7.78%
Green Marcia Squier 40,204 0.95 +0.35
Taxpayers George Huffman III 27,251 0.64 +0.08
Natural Law John Howard Wilhelm 16,502 0.39 +0.15
Write-in Total write-in 18 0.00043 -0.0014
Majority 275,660 6.5% -14.32
Turnout 4,237,231 100.0% -8.9
Democratic hold


  1. ^ a b "A Life Devoted to Service Before Self". John James for U.S. Senate. June 5, 2019. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  2. ^ King, R.J.; Schultz, John S.; Beaman, Tom; Keenan, Tim & Calabrese, Dan (October 8, 2012). "30 in Their Thirties 2012". Detroit Business Journal. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  3. ^ Fink, Jenni (October 9, 2018). "Trump Jr. Embodies Party of Privilege, Activist Says, But Michigan GOP Senate Candidate Says His Ancestors Were Slaves". Newsweek. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  4. ^ James Group International (n.d.). "Leadership". James Group International. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  5. ^ Wheeler, Tatiana (October 1, 2014). "Congratulations to Our Class of 2014 40 Under 40!". Michigan Chronicle. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  6. ^ McKinney, Jeffrey (June 7, 2017). "Is This BE 100s Executive Michigan's Next Republican Senator?". Black Enterprise. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  7. ^ Spangler, Todd (September 21, 2017). "Metro Detroit Businessman John James Joins U.S. Senate Race". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  8. ^ Oosting, Jonathan & Nann Burke, Melissa (November 20, 2017). "Pensler Joins U.S. Senate Race to Take on Stabenow". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  9. ^ Gibbons, Lauren (July 27, 2018). "Donald Trump Endorses John James in Michigan's U.S. Senate Race". MLive. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  10. ^ Bureau of Elections (September 27, 2018). "2018 Michigan Election Results". Michigan Department of State. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  11. ^ Jacobs, Jennifer (November 26, 2018). "Trump Considering Ex-Michigan Senate Candidate for UN Ambassador, Sources Say". Bloomberg news. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  12. ^ Johnson, Eliana; Toosi, Nahal; Orr, Gabby & Strauss, Daniel (December 7, 2018). "Trump Picks State Department Spokeswoman for top UN Post". Politico. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  13. ^ Shesgreen, Deirdre (February 16, 2019). "Heather Nauert, President Trump's choice for UN ambassador job, withdraws in surprise move". USA Today. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  14. ^ "Michigan's John James in running for UN ambassador, reports say". Detroit Free Press. February 19, 2019. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  15. ^ Rucker, Philip & Gearan, Anne (February 22, 2019). "Trump announces nomination of Kelly Knight Craft to be ambassador to United Nations". The Washington Post.
  16. ^ @realDonaldTrump (February 22, 2019). "I am pleased to announce that Kelly Knight Craft, our current Ambassador to Canada, is being nominated to be United States Ambassador to the United Nations..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  17. ^ Fleming, Leonard N. (November 12, 2018). "GOP Sees Bright Future for James After Close Senate Race". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  18. ^ "Michigan Republicans hopeful in John James' political future after U.S. Senate loss". Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  19. ^ Barrett, Malachi (June 5, 2019). "Republicans want John James to run again, help Trump win Michigan". MLive. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  20. ^ Burke, Melissa Nann & Oosting, Jonathan (June 5, 2019). "John James announces second run for U.S. Senate in Michigan". The Detroit News. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  21. ^ Bureau of Elections (August 7, 2018). "Michigan Primary results". 2018 Michigan Primary Election Results. Michigan Department of State. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  22. ^ Bureau of Elections (November 26, 2018). "2018 Michigan Election Results". Michigan Department of State. Retrieved November 27, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Pete Hoekstra
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Michigan
(Class 2)

Most recent