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The Hill: Poll shows Sen. Gary Peters with slim lead over GOP rival in Michigan

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is running narrowly ahead of his Republican rival in what is likely to be one of the critical battleground states in next year’s election.

The poll, conducted by the Michigan-based Marketing Resource Group, a firm with ties to Republicans, shows Peters leading businessman and Iraq War veteran John James (R) by a slim 43 percent to 40 percent margin.

Republicans are cautiously optimistic that James will put a new state on a Senate map that otherwise favors Democrats. James, who has never held public office, lost a 2018 bid against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) by a 52 percent to 46 percent margin.

James may have a better chance against Peters, who is seeking his second term in office. Peters is less well-known among Michiganders than his senior colleague; while 75 percent of state voters polled said they were aware of Peters, only 35 percent knew enough about him to say whether they felt positively, 20 percent, or negatively, 15 percent.

“John James’s campaign against Sen. Stabenow in 2018 appears to have propelled him into a virtual tie with Sen. Peters in 2020,” said Tom Shields, MRG’s senior adviser.

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