Schumer starts spending big in Michigan Senate race, very nervous GOP is within ‘striking distance’

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U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Senate Majority PAC is allegedly “very nervous” about a race in Michigan that is posing a serious challenge to Democratic incumbent Sen. Gary Peters.

Michigan Senate Republican candidate John James is within “striking distance” of Peters, according to a confidential campaign memo which noted that he had raised $14 million in the third quarter, Fox News reported. The super PAC run by allies of Minority Leader Schumer are apparently feeling the heat and pouring millions into advertising in the state in response.

James’ campaign revealed in a campaign memo released Tuesday that the PAC has spent $5.4 million in advertising in Michigan just this week.

“Chuck Schumer’s Senate Majority PAC will spend $5.4 million in one week — this is the most money they are spending on any Democrat in the entire nation,” Stu Sandler, the Michigan Republican Party’s general counsel, wrote in the memo obtained by Fox News.

“They are very nervous about John James, and they should be,” Sandler, who said James’ ad buyers provided the information on Democrats’ spending, added.

A first-term senator, Peters is a former congressman and state lawmaker and served in the Navy Reserves. His challenger is a 39-year-old West Point graduate and Army veteran who ran unopposed in the Michigan primary. Democrats don’t think he has what it takes to get the full support of the state’s voters.

“John James is the handpicked candidate of Mitch McConnell, Betsy DeVos, and the out-of-state billionaires and corporate special interests who are trying to buy this Senate seat,” Stewart Boss, spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said.

“Voters are going to reject James again next month because they know he’s tried to deceive them about his harmful agenda to repeal their health care and can’t be trusted to put Michigan families ahead of his party leaders and donors in Washington,” Boss added.

Fox News reported:

Fundraising in the race has been neck-and-neck. Peters, who has a history of winning some tough races, has raised about $21 million through the second quarter whereas James has raised about $20 million. Peters already announced he brought in another $14 million in the third quarter. James had not yet publicly announced his fundraising haul, but the memo sent to the campaign’s steering committee revealed James also brought in $14 million.

 

“James has kept pace with his opponent and continues to exceed nationwide trends,” Sandler wrote in the memo, which cited internal polling that indicated the race is “tied” at 48% for Peters and 46% for James, within the margin of error.

The amount of money being spent in Michigan by the Senate Majority PAC has raised eyebrows since the effort is being made to hold on to a seat already held by a Democrat, as opposed to other races where millions are being spent to flip red seats like Sens. Cory Gardner in Colorado, David Perdue in Georgia, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Steve Daines in Montana, Susan Collins in Maine, Martha McSally in Arizona and Joni Ernst in Iowa.

“The astounding sum that the Senate Majority PAC is spending shows how close John James is to winning the U.S. Senate seat in Michigan,” the candidate’s campaign memo stated. “Schumer and the Democrats are in sheer panic that the $35 million that they have already spent against John James over the past year still has John James within striking distance of winning the Senate race.”

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network projected that the state’s Senate race will exceed $100 million in spending and become Michigan’s most expensive race ever. Democrats are looking to Peters retaining his seat as part of their hopes of securing a U.S. Senate majority in November.

More than 40 outside groups have spent $50 million in ads already in Michigan, according to the MCFN. The Schumer-backed PAC is the leading outside group supporting Peters with $13 million while the Senate Leadership Fund, the Senate GOP’s counterpart, has spent $9 million so far in support of James.

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Frieda Powers

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