Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters won a second term Wednesday, multiple outlets reported.
Peters beat GOP challenger John James, a businessman and former Air Force pilot, by just 1.1 points, leading 49.6% to 48.5% when the race was called. Though the state was viewed as one of Republicans’ only senate pickup opportunities this cycle, most forecasts predicted Peters to win.
Michigan, thank you. It’s an honor to serve you for another six years in the U.S. Senate.
To all who believed in us, gave your time and effort in our fight: thank you for putting your trust in me. I’m so grateful and energized to keep working to move our state forward.
— Gary Peters (@GaryPeters) November 5, 2020
Even with James’ strong fundraising ability, Peters held a consistent, single-digit lead throughout the race. Democrats were worried that Peters was in greater danger heading into the final few months of the race as James began to outraise Peters and polls showed him closing in, but the gap between the two widened in the closing weeks.
James also challenged Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2018 but lost by just over six points. He was floated as President Donald Trump’s possible pick to succeed former Nikki Haley as the ambassador to the United Nations but Trump ultimately picked Kelly Craft. (RELATED: Sen Gary Peters Opens Up About His Experience With Abortion)
Though Peters’ win was critical for Democrats’ effort to flip the Senate, they are likely to stay in the minority after Republicans defended seats in Maine, Iowa, Montana and South Carolina. Though Democrats did flip Senate seats in Arizona and Colorado, Democratic Sen. Doug Jones lost his race in Alabama as well.
Democrats’ hopes now rest in the hands of Independent Alaska candidate Al Gross, Democratic North Carolina candidate Cal Cunningham and Georgia Democratic senatorial candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. They need two out of four to have a 50-50 split in Congress’s upper chamber, and must at least three to retake the majority, though both scenarios are unlikely, forecasters say.
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