Early predictions by Chuck Schumer and other Democrats is that they’ll retake the majority in 2020. Those predictions are foolish. Though Democrats have a couple pickup opportunities, they’re staring at a blue-to-red flip in Alabama and an uphill fight for a red-to-blue flip in Arizona.
Then there’s Michigan. According to this article, Democrat Gary Peters starts “his re-election campaign with relatively low name recognition in Michigan, according to a new statewide poll. A survey of 600 likely state voters conducted last week found that nearly 63 percent of Michigan voters recognize Peters, the state’s junior senator, and about 36 percent have never heard of him.”
Things go downhill from there for Democrat Peters. Peters is a do-nothing senator who’s running against a young GOP candidate with a compelling storyline. His name is John James.
This can’t be overlooked:
Brand also points to what James brings to the table. “John James is very compelling, and he has an incredible story to tell,” he says. “People are super hyped about him — he’s a hit.”
James says he’ll take what he learned in the first campaign and build off what worked. Although he says it would be easier for him to sit this election out, he’s not interested in giving up. James and his wife, Elizabeth, have three young children, plus he’s still running his family’s transportation and warehousing business.
First, the fact that a sitting senator 5 years into his first term is largely unknown says everything about the Democrats’ enthusiasm and the quality of the Democrats’ candidate. Clearly, this is a placeholder candidate who will have a heavy lift for re-election. Next, enthusiasm is high, both from supporters and from the NRSC:
James is already pulling in sizable donations. In the first three weeks after his June announcement, James raised $1.5 million. Among his nearly 12,000 donors, 71% of contributions were $50 or less, pointing to the strength of his grassroots appeal.
Don’t forget this:
Michigan GOP chairwoman Laura Cox and Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speak highly of James, knowing he brings a much-needed shot of youth and diversity to the party. They are ready to put resources behind him, since James doesn’t yet face a costly primary, as he did in 2018.
“While we have chosen a light-hearted way to highlight his low name-recognition and ineffectiveness, his failure to stand up for Michigan families in the face of devastating policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal is no laughing matter,” said NRSC spokesperson Nathan Brand.
The Green New Deal isn’t popular with manufacturers. Medicare for All won’t be popular with union families because unions negotiated great health care benefits and left bigger pay raises on the table. Medicare for All isn’t anywhere as good of coverage as the Cadillac plans that union workers negotiated.
This is one of the US Senate races that LFR will pay attention to in the upcoming year+. Clearly, it’s a great shot at flipping a blue seat into the red column.
FYI– I’ll also be paying attention to the Alabama and Arizona races. I don’t think Democrats will flip Arizona from red-to-blue but I’m fairly confident that Republicans will flip Jeff Sessions’ seat back to red.