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James requests 4 debates; Peters 'looking forward' to debating

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, and his Republican challenger John James began publicly negotiating Tuesday the schedule for debates in their Michigan race.

James, a businessman from Farmington Hills, started the exchange when he posted a video on social media, challenging Peters to four televised debates. The video started with James removing a mask that featured a campaign logo.

"During these unprecedented times, now more so than ever, I believe that Michiganders deserve to hear from their two choices for representation in the U.S. Senate," James said in the video.

His proposed plan featured two debates hosted by local TV markets — one in Detroit and one in Grand Rapids — and two hosted by national cable stations — one on Fox News and one on CNN.

In response, Peters didn't specifically agree to the details but said on Twitter that he is "looking forward" to debating James. His message included a fundraising link.

Peters is one of two Democratic senators running for re-election in states that President Donald Trump won in 2016. There wasn't a debate between Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land in their 2014 race when he won his first six-year term in the Senate.

James and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, agreed to two debates in their 2018 race. Stabenow ended up defeating James by 6.5 points.

James has raised more money than Peters for four straight fundraising periods. However, Peters has a cash-on-hand advantage over James.

As of the end of June, Peters reported having $12 million available while James reported having $9.3 million available.

cmauger@detroitnews.com