He lost by only – only! – six points to Michigan's Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) in 2018, so Republicans are positively gleeful that Republican Senate candidate John James appears to be within just a point of catching Senator Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Township) in some recent polling. Of course, the 2020 election is over a year away, and a lot can happen in 14 months – either way. But Peters, who has been lottery commissioner and congressman – even after having his district changed – and senator since 2014, has often beaten projections. Republicans, both locally and nationally, are counting on the charismatic James to flip the seat and help keep the Senate. “James looks at this as a non-politician, as a public servant. It's his belief system, he's part of the church. John sees it as a calling,” said former state Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), who will be part of combat veteran James' campaign. But James is not the only vet in the game – Peters served in the Persian Gulf as a Navy Reservist, and then again went overseas after 9/11. “James' numbers are very good. He's the best speaker in the Republican Party. He's a strong presence,” said one veteran Republican fundraiser. “But I don't think James will win, because (President) Trump will sink everyone.” Peters has spent the summer recess from the Senate on a statewide motorcycle tour, while Democrats have claimed James has been “in hiding” – he has been spotted at several out-of-state fundraisers, including one in Florida hosted by Trump's finance team. GOP flacks push the narrative that Peters is benefitting from West Coast liberal donors.