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GOP super PAC announces $9 million ad buy in Michigan Senate race

GOP super PAC announces $9 million ad buy in Michigan Senate race
© Greg Nash

A top Republican super PAC with ties to Senate GOP leadership on Thursday announced it will roll out a $9 million ad buy in Michigan to try and defeat Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersRepublican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race Hillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff MORE (D).

Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) said in a press release that its statewide television and radio buy, which will begin airing Saturday, is intended to “hold Gary Peters accountable” and prop up his opponent, businessman John James.

“The only thing Gary Peters has accomplished over his years in Washington is to keep Michigan’s U.S. Senate seat warm for his successor. That person is going to be John James – an incredibly impressive advocate for Michigan families and jobs who is taking the fight to Peters for leaving Michiganders hanging in a pandemic,” said SLF President Steven Law.

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The Michigan Senate race gives the GOP a rare opportunity to go on offense in the fight for the Senate as the party largely finds itself playing defense across the board. While Republicans are supremely confident they will unseat Alabama Sen. Doug Jones (D) this November, Peters is the only other Democrat running for reelection in a state President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE won in 2016. 

James, an Army combat veteran, has emerged as a fundraising powerhouse and been touted as a top GOP recruit after his unsuccessful 2018 Senate campaign against Sen Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowRepublican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race Lobbying world Senate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  MORE (D). Polls show Peters with a consistent lead in the race, though surveys released last month show him ahead by mid-single digits, down from a double-digit advantage over the summer.

Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHarris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight MORE’s allies are spending over $16 million to prop up James because they want another vote to gut pre-existing conditions coverage, undermine a woman’s right to choose, and obstruct Great Lakes funding,” Peters campaign spokeswoman Vanessa Valdivia said in a statement, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Should Peters lose his reelection campaign, it would make Democrats’ efforts to take back the Senate and overcome the GOP’s 53-47 seat majority incredibly difficult. But the party boasts that Peters will be able to win a second term, and the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race as “lean” Democrat.

The Wolverine State will likely be inundated with an avalanche of outside spending this cycle as it also is a key battleground in the presidential race. Trump won Michigan by under 11,000 votes in 2016 over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFederal workers stuck it out with Trump — now, we're ready to get back to work Biden soars as leader of the free world Intercept DC bureau chief says Biden picks are 'same people' from Obama years MORE, and polls show former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Obama: Republican Party members believe 'white males are victims' MORE with a single-digit lead over him there this year.