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Gary Peters leads John James in Michigan U.S. Senate race, Detroit News/WDIV poll finds

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peter holds a slight lead over Republican challenger John James in a Michigan U.S. Senate race expected to hinge on independent voters, according to a new Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll.

Peters, the first-term senator from Bloomfield Township, leads 44%-41% over James, the Farmington Hills businessman and Iraq War veteran, according to the poll released Tuesday. Just over 14% remained undecided in the Sept. 1-3 poll of 600 likely Michigan voters by the Glengariff Group.

Sen. Gary Peters speaks to the news media outside the Bloomfield Township City Clerk's office after dropping off his ballot on Friday, July 31, 2020.

For subscribers:Details, crosstabs, takeaways in latest Senate poll

"I don't think it's a surprise to see a first-term U.S. senator in Michigan having a tough re-election fight," said Richard Czuba, president of the Glengariff Group.

The race is among those closely watched as Republicans seek to maintain their majority of 53 seats in the 100-seat chamber. Peters is viewed as among the most vulnerable incumbent Democrats.  

President Donald Trump's unfavorable rating has encouraged Democrats that they can win control of the upper chamber of Congress, and holding Peters' seat is a key part of the strategy.

But since James lost to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, by a lower-than-expected 6.5 percentage points in 2018, Republicans argue he has a good chance to beat the less well-known Peters.

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