Skubick: Battle looms between incumbent Sen. Peters and upstart challenger

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A close personal advisor to current Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James is indicating his race with incumbent Democrat Sen. Gary Peters is a dead heat. 

With the strong endorsement of President Donald Trump last year, Republican newcomer John James beat his well-financed Republican opponent for the right to run against Democratic incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

She was expected to beat him by double digits but even though she won, the margin was much closer and Republicans knew they had a rising star in war veteran John James.

Former Senate Republican leader Randy Richardville is a close advisor to Mr. James, who announced that he’s running again for the Senate and the polling data reportedly shows a dead heat with Democrat U.S. Senator Gary Peters.

“The people in Washington got pretty excited because even though that John lost a campaign, he lost to a 43-year government elected official, 24 years in the U.S. Senate,” said Richardville. “He got a lot of people’s attention, he got crossover votes, independents and I think that Washington is excited that he is running again.”

Mr. Richardville reports that Mr. James has some work to do with African-American voters where he expected to do well last year.

He did not, getting only 9 percent of that vote.

And then there is the President Trump factor in this race.

Mr. James needs Independent voters and many female Independent voters did not support Mr. Trump last year.

So does Mr. James have to back off linking himself to the president?

“You need to establish yourself as John James, period. Not as John James Trump follower,” said Richardville. “What are you going to do in the U.S. Senate? Sure, we know that Trump likes you and has endorsed you and you agree with a lot of his policies but you are also going have to stand up to him and say no. You are also going to be able to do that. Prove to us who John James is and not your relationship to Trump.”

The Democratic incumbent Mr. Peters knows he’s got a competitive race on his hands but is conceding nothing to his opponent.

He’s currently touring the state on his motorcycle and raising money to defeat this rising Republican political star.

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