A Michigan Super PAC aimed at unseating incumbent Sen. Gary Peters (D) rolled out a blistering digital ad on Thursday. Better Future MI Fund hits the freshman senator for “double dipping” taxpayer funds. The ad shows that Sen. Peters still receives statewide pension funds from his tenure in Michigan’s state legislature, while also collecting his taxpayer-funded U.S. Senate salary; before joining the upper chamber, Peters served in the House of Representatives from 2009 until 2015. As the PAC points out, Sen. Peters' net worth doubled to $4.3 million via his taxpayer funded salaries. While such a wealth increase is not uncommon among politicians in D.C., Sen. Peters' substantial income gain, on the backs of taxpayers, is evidence that he embodies the career-politician way of life.
Sen. Peters’ is viewed as one of the more vulnerable Democratic incumbents up for re-election in November. Republican candidate and Army veteran John James, who also ran against 20-year incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in 2018, has put the freshman senator on notice. James lost his election in 2018 by a mere 6 points to a well-known incumbent, in a year of Democratic enthusiasm. Sen. Peters does not enjoy the same advantage that Sen. Stabenow did; Sen. Peters has a severe name identification problem. A 2019 Morning Consult poll revealed that 40 percent of Michigan voters did not know the freshman senator by name.
Sen. Peters recently joined Democratic colleagues in voting against funding for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which put political ambition over the best interests of his constituents, all while collecting a hefty salary funded by taxpayers.
"Public service has been very profitable for Sen. Gary Peters who has doubled his wealth while in Washington, D.C.," said Tori Sachs, a consultant for Better Future MI Fund. "While Michiganders face depression-level unemployment, Peters is focused on getting re-elected and increasing his wealth. Michiganders deserve a Senator focused on getting results for the state - not lining their own pockets."
Real Clear Politics has Sen. Peters ahead of James by a slim margin, while Cook Political Report rates the seat as “Lean Democrat.” James has managed to outraise his incumbent opponent for the last three quarters in a row, while Sen. Schumer and the Democratic establishment hope to hold onto the vulnerable seat.