Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Gary Peters and John James fight for Michigan's U.S. Senate seat

November 3, 2020
Left, U.S. Senate candidate John James speaks during a debate watch party on Oct. 14, 2018 at James Madison College Library. Photo by CJ Weiss.
Right, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, speaks at U-M's Rackham Auditorium on Oct. 19, 2018. Photo by Andrew Roth.
Left, U.S. Senate candidate John James speaks during a debate watch party on Oct. 14, 2018 at James Madison College Library. Photo by CJ Weiss. Right, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, speaks at U-M's Rackham Auditorium on Oct. 19, 2018. Photo by Andrew Roth. —

Editor's Note: This article was updated on Wednesday, Nov. 4 to correct a mistake stating that Peters outraised James based on a Oct. 23 press release.

With the arrival of Nov. 3 election, Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and Republican John James are fighting a tough battle for control of Michigan's U.S. Senate seat. 

The two opponents have a tight race ahead, making it a must-watch on election night. According to the polls on FiveThirtyEight from Citizen Data, Gary Peters is ahead with 46% of the vote, John James is close behind with 42% of the vote. 

The race has been tough so far for both candidates, especially since the polls have them in a tight margin. 

Both campaigns have released multiple negative advertisements against one another, a press release sent out by the James campaign on Oct. 22 said that Peters cut medicare funding and supports increasing the age on Social Security.

“Gary Peters is only out for himself,” Abby Walls, campaign spokesperson for James said in the press release. “During Senator Peters’ time in Washington, he pocketed money from the big drug and insurance companies he vowed he would hold accountable, tried to move the goalposts for senior citizens being able to access Social Security, and cut funding from Medicare. John James will protect social security and medicare from career politicians who will raid today what they promised yesterday. John will do everything he can in Washington to provide a strong safety net and always protect our seniors.”

Peters's campaign has issued negative advertisements as well, in a press release from Oct. 23.

“With only 11 days until Election Day, it’s evident that the people of Michigan are with Senator Gary Peters and his proven record of delivering results across the state,” Dan Farough, Peters for Michigan Campaign Manager said in the press release. “While John James hides from voters, fumbles and fails to answer basic questions in local TV interviews, it’s clear that Gary Peters has the momentum and grassroots energy to defeat John James’ false attacks and empty promises on November 3.” 

Peters served as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and is the current sitting senator. Peters won the senate seat in 2014 against Republican Terri Lynn Land. 

Peters has taken a strong stance on healthcare, and voted for the Affordable Care Act, and has opposed attempts to repeal it. He also supports lowering prescription drug prices and is working to expand insurance coverage for middle-class families with a Medicare public option. 

His campaign website reads, "Whether fighting for quality, affordable health care, and lower prescription drug prices, defending our Great Lakes, protecting public schools or standing up for small businesses, Gary always puts Michigan first." 

His website also describes his views on racial equality and justice, saying, "Gary understands that African American and other underserved communities in Michigan are facing unique challenges. That’s why he’s focused on passing policies to empower these communities and uplift the work of local leaders and organizations. Whether working for immediate action to reform our broken criminal justice system, fighting to protect voting rights and expanding vocational training opportunities, or working to address disparities in housing, health care and economic prosperity, Gary’s focused on building opportunities for everyone." 

Neither candidate talks specifically about the Black Lives Matter movement on their website's, however, James also speaks on equality and unity.

"We need leaders who are proven unifiers because partisanship is tearing the Nation apart," James said on his campaign website. "Americans are hurting and scared right now. Whether it’s concern for their health well-being, concern about inequality, or simply hopelessness associated with financial anxiety and socio-economic immobility, Americans are desperately seeking wise and compassionate leadership."

According to James's campaign website, he served eight years in Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom where he earned a Combat Action Badge (CAB) and two Air Medals while logging 753.7 flight hours in theater leading two Apache platoons. He was honorably discharged and returned to Michigan to work in the family business: James Group International. James also served on Governor Rick Snyder’s mobility council and Veterans Trust Committee, and Detroit Mayor Duggan’s Workforce Development Council. 

James also emphasizes the need for healthcare, and advocates for "Preventative care and more wellness coverage including trauma, addiction, nutrition and fitness, and health insurance options that are affordable and increase access," according to his website. 

James also strongly advocates for the protection of veterans, stopping illegal immigration and protecting the environment. 

James's campaign website reads, "Our veterans laid their life on the line to protect our nation and freedom around the world. The toughest battles our veterans face should not happen after they return home. We must keep our promises to our veterans, ease the transition to civilian life, and provide our heroes the best possible care." 

Both candidates have notable endorsements, James is currently endorsed by The Detroit News and the National Rifle Association. Peters is endorsed by former President Barack Obama and Spartan legend Magic Johnson

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