Republican Senate candidate John James posted huge fundraising numbers in the first quarter of 2020, as he tries to unseat Democrat incumbent Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI). This marks the third quarter in a row that James has outraised Sen. Peters, who is struggling with name identification in his own state.
?? Republican John James posting huge fundraising numbers in Michigan U.S. Senate race ??— Nathan Brand (@NathanBrandWA) April 7, 2020
James (R): $4.8 Million
Peters (D): $4.0 Million
This is the third quarter in a row that James has outraised incumbent Democrat Peters#LetsFlyMI ???? #MIsen https://t.co/ZWAS18aQ97
November’s Senate contest in Michigan is shaping up to be a competitive battleground state. James ran for Senate in 2018, during the Democratic ‘Blue Wave,’ but lost to 20-year incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) by a mere six points in a tough electoral year for the GOP. Sen. Peters is a much more vulnerable incumbent; in a 2019 Morning Consult poll, 40 percent of Michigan voters did not recognize the name of their junior Senator.
Sen. Peters's campaign recently rolled out a "resource" website for Michigan residents affected by COVID-19, but keeping in line with the trend of other Democratic Senate candidates, the campaign used the global health pandemic to fundraise:
Sen. Gary Peters campaign set up a campaign page with "resources" about the Coronavirus pandemic, but as soon as you sign up Peters asks for a campaign donation.— Tori Sachs (@Tori_Sachs) April 6, 2020
Pretty disgusting and pathetic to fundraise off Coronavirus info. #MISen https://t.co/514tzATCcE
Sen. Chuck Schumer appears to be prepping to bail out an unpopular, unknown Sen. Peters. Senate Majority PAC, closely aligned with Sen. Schumer, spent $3 million on ads in the last three weeks attacking James.
With the latest $1.3 million independent expenditure report filed today, the Democratic Senate Majority PAC has spent over $3 million in the last three weeks on ads opposing Republican #MISen candidate @JohnJamesMI pic.twitter.com/m7c38CGRem— Rob Pyers (@rpyers) April 6, 2020
President Trump won Michigan by a slim margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016, and James is a close ally of the president. Former Vice President Joe Biden is admittedly vetting Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) for vice president, after vowing to select a woman as his running mate if he clinches the Democratic nomination. Gov. Whitmer has joined Biden in using COVID-19 as an excuse to attack President Trump:
As Biden's ability to fundraise and keep up on the campaign trail depletes, and with a young, popular GOP Senate candidate on the ballot, Michigan is undoubtedly at play in November.