Democrat Gary Peters Narrowly Holds On to Michigan Senate Seat

Carolyn Kaster/AP

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Despite the GOP’s best efforts and mountains of cash, Michigan Democrat Gary Peters will serve a second term, according to projections from multiple news outlets. Peters narrowly defeated Republican John James. Though Peters was the incumbent in a seat that Democrats have held for decades, his was one of a few Democratic seats that were seen as vulnerable—both because of his low profile in the senate and because of James’ better-than-expected performance two years ago in the race for Michigan’s other senate seat.

James lost by just 6 points to incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow in 2018, emboldening Republicans to throw money into his campaign against Peters. And throw money they did. The Michigan senate race was the most expensive in the state’s history and one of the most expensive in the country this election cycle, with the candidates raising a combined total of $79 million. James, the 39-year-old Iraq war veteran and businessman, boasted a huge backing from prominent GOP bundlers, including the family of Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s secretary of Education, as well as from dark money groups. In the end, James’ campaign raised a whopping $37 million, but wasn’t able to top Peters’ final haul of $42.5 million. The effort nearly paid off for James, as he currently trails Peters by less than 2 percentage points.

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