Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich., questions Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to examine Department of Homeland Security personnel deployments to recent protests on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Washington. (Toni Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool) Congress Homeland Security
Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich., questions Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to examine Department of Homeland Security personnel deployments to recent protests on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Washington. (Toni Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

With 98% of precincts reporting, Reuters has called the Michigan Senate race for incumbent Democrat Gary Peters over John James.

LANSING, Mich.—At around 8:00 p.m., Reuters called the Michigan Senate race for Democratic incumbent Sen. Gary Peters, with 49.6% of the vote.

Despite being at a funding disadvantage through nearly the entire campaign, Peters regularly polled above James as shown by Public Policy Polling data published by Lake Effect magazine

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The victory comes as a relief to Michigan mom Andrea Pietrowsky, whose daughter has a congenital heart condition would be a costly pre-existing condition without protections put in place by landmark health reforms Peters has championed, the 2010 Affordable Care Act. 

“We deserve a president and leaders up and down the ballot who recognize what’s at stake on the issue of health care,” she said. “Joe Biden and Gary Peters will lead with integrity to fight and save and expand the coverage for the Affordable Care Act so kids like mine can continue to enjoy life.”

Peters’ opponent, John James, attempted unsuccessfully to unseat Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow in 2018, and was again unsuccessful in his fight against first-term incumbent Gary Peters. 

Despite major funding from groups linked to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, James couldn’t surmount Peters’ lead. But the race was close. As of this reporting, the difference was around 1%. 

“Gary Peters may not always do what I want him to do, but nobody will,” said Macomb voter Andrea Geralds. “He is solid, dependable, he doesn’t cause stress or drama and he is smart as it comes. Quiet competence is not a characteristic I undervalue.”

READ MORE: Michigan Sen. Gary Peters Tells Us How He Became Washington’s Most Accomplished Freshman Senator

Peters has focused heavily in recent months on championing the United States Postal Service, which will continue to be a flashpoint in Washington as long as Louis DeJoy remains Postmaster General and is determined to scale back postal operations and the reliability of mail as cost-cutting measures. 

He also will fight to protect health care, which will be an intense battle in the coming years following the confirmation of Trump-appointed Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, a confirmation Peters voted against. Barrett not only poses a threat to signature health insurance reforms but to the right of women to pursue bodily autonomy.

In the lead-up to the Election, Peters shared a deeply personal story of a medically necessitated abortion his famly dealt with in the past and that motivated his fears about Justice Barrett’s confirmation in October. 

Peters was, in his first term, considered the most effective person in the Senate and passed more legislation than any other senator. In an organization where seniority matters, Peters is likely to remain instrumental in Washington as he represents Michiganders. 

For more information on how this shapes the overall makeup of the Senate, keep up with our results coverage.