Michigan Senate Race Gives GOP Hope For 2018

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Jack Crowe Political Reporter
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The growing field of prominent Republicans and conservative groups rallying around Michigan Senate candidate John James has prompted increased speculation that the political novice stands a real chance of unseating veteran Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

The Senate Conservative Fund, which previously hoisted GOP Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Joni Ernst of Iowa to national prominence, endorsed James on Monday. His past competitor, former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young Jr., also endorsed him.

“We are thrilled to be endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund. This group has a tremendous national following and has a history of providing resources that help win tough Senate races. They recognize that John James’s background as a conservative outsider who is a combat veteran and a job creator makes him one of the strongest candidates in the nation. We are proud to receive their endorsement,” Tori Sachs, John James for Senate Campaign Manager, said in a statement provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Axios added Michigan to their “2018 Senate elections to keep an eye on” following the pair of high profile endorsements.

“Republicans hope that John James, a young African-American veteran, could give Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow a run for her money if he wins the primary,” the Axios description reads.

Initially viewed as somewhat of a long shot due to his inexperience, James‘ prospects for success have increased dramatically in recent months as top GOP challengers dropped out of the primary. The most high profile of supposed challengers, performer Kid Rock, capitalized on his status as a well loved native son of Michigan in 2017, teasing a Senate for months and selling merchandise to that effect, before announcing that he would not run in October. James and Rock were recently spotted dining together at Rock’s restaurant before sitting court side at a Detroit Pistons game.

The field continued to open for James after wealthy Republican front-runner GOP Rep. Fred Upton left the race, followed shortly by Young. While the departures certainly benefits James, its not clear he needed the help; he was leading Upton by 5 points and Young by significantly more than that as of Mid November, according to a survey conducted for MIRS News. (RELATED: As Upton Drops Out, GOP Pins Hopes On Michigan Newcomer)

While his prospects have certainly improved, the political upstart must still contend with a challenge from wealthy Michigan financier Sandy Pensler, who entered the race in November and vowed to spend millions of his own money for the opportunity to challenge Stabenow.

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