U.S. Senate battleground: Peters, James in heated race for Michigan seat

Democrat Peters faces tough challenge from Republican John James

FILE - In this combination of 2018 and 2019 file photos are, from left, Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James. James has been called a rising star of the Republican Party so many times it's become a cliche. Now Republicans are looking to the African American combat veteran, business owner and father of three to flip a Senate seat to help the party hold its precarious majority. But James' race against Sen. Gary Peters in a presidential battleground state has suddenly gotten dicier. Although Trump narrowly won Michigan in 2016, the mood seems to be turning away from the president and the GOP. (AP Photos, File) (Uncredited, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – It is one of a handful of Senate races that is a must watch on election night.

First term U.S. Senator Gary Peters, 61, a Democrat, is facing a formidable challenge from Republican John James, 39, an Iraq war veteran who runs a logistics company in Detroit.

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., speaks during an event for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden at Michigan State Fairgrounds in Novi, Mich., Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Peters, who is White, is a longtime Michigan politico. He has served in a variety of elected and appointed positions. He crushed his Republican challenger in 2014. However, his challenger ran what is widely viewed as one of the worst Senate campaigns in years.

James, who is Black, ran for Senate against longtime Senator Debbie Stabenow in 2018 and lost in what was a blue wave year, but James out-performed all other Republicans on the ballot.

FILE - In this Monday, June 22, 2020, file photo, Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James speaks at Weir Farms in Hanover Township, Mich. First-term Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan is trying to hang onto his seat. The low-key, understated, maybe even boring senator is betting voters care more about his effectiveness as he desperately fights to keep a seat his party is counting on to take the Senate majority. Peters is finding it tougher to shake Republican John James. Michigan has something it has not seen in 20 years: a competitive Senate contest. (AP Photo/David Eggert, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The battle on the airwaves across the state of Michigan has the campaigns and outside groups funneling millions into the race. Peters' more overtly political message contrasts with James, who has showcased his family and military credentials.

The polling has repeatedly shown either a dead heat or a margin of error race. James is the GOP’s best hope to pick up a Senate seat in what is a battle for control of the U.S. Senate.

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