Democratic Sen. Gary Peters has consistently led the polls in his race in Michigan. But Republicans are feeling good enough about their chances that they’re dumping millions more into the race at the last minute.
The Senate Leadership Fund, which is aligned with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is putting $4.6 million into the race over the last weekend, the group told reporters on Friday morning. Steven Law, the group’s president, said SLF “has reason to believe this is a margin of error race.”
“We think numbers are moving rapidly, it’s clear the Democrats are quite concerned about it and we see a potential opportunity,” Law said.
If Republican candidate John James can somehow wrest Michigan from Peters it would be a massive step toward protecting the GOP majority.
Republicans hold 53 seats but are on defense everywhere but Michigan and Alabama and are at risk of losing perhaps a half-dozen seats if Joe Biden wins the presidency and there’s a Democratic wave.
And though Democrats have been outspending Republicans over the last two months in Michigan, SLF’s late-game infusion will give the GOP the edge over the airwaves in the final days of the election, according to media buying statistics. James has also been one of the few Republicans to keep up with his Democratic opponent when it comes to fundraising.
Still, it’s hard to conclude that Peters isn’t the favorite. Peters leads nearly every public poll and most forecasters view him as stronger than James, who lost his challenge to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) in 2018. Peters won his seat handily in 2014, which was a terrible year for Democrats nationwide.
“As John James keeps falling behind in the polls with a lackluster campaign and out-of-touch agenda, Gary Peters continues to build momentum in the race, expanding his lead and broadening his grassroots fundraising support,” said Vanessa Valdivia, a spokeswoman for Peters’ campaign.
James Arkin contributed to this report.
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