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The national political media has Michigan’s U.S. Senate race between incumbent Senator Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield) and Republican challenger John James in its periscope, placing Peters as one of the top 10 most vulnerable senators in the country in 2020. Peters, finishing his first term, is a former U.S. Congressman from Bloomfield Township, and has a long political resume, so he’s been through this rodeo before, while James, a relative neophyte, lost his only other political race in 2018, to four-term Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) – yet Republicans both in Michigan and nationally have pinned high hopes on him. Because Michigan is one of two states where Trump won in 2016 but there is a Democratic Senator on the ballot, lots of GOP bucks and focus will be poured into the state. Republicans are still smarting from the Democratic sweep in 2018 with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (winning by almost 10 points), followed by Stabenow, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and two Oakland County congressional seats flipping – for Democrats Elissa Slotkin (MI-8) and Haley Stevens (MI-11). In the last reporting period, James outraised Peters, $3.1 million to $2.5 million, but Peters reportedly has $4.7 million cash-on-hand. Unlike 2016, Michigan will get a lot of presidential candidate love, attention and dollars this go-round, and James’ notoriety as a combat vet will only go so far – Peters is as well. However, James’ full-throttle embrace – “2000 percent” – of Trump could doom him once again.


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