Peters poised to lead Senate Democrats’ campaign arm
Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is poised to become the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2022 cycle as Democrats seek to defend their control of the 50-50 split Senate, according to multiple people familiar with the internal deliberations.
Peters is beginning his second term after winning a narrow victory over Republican John James in Michigan last year in one of just two competitive races featuring Democratic incumbents defending their seats. Democrats took control of the Senate majority after flipping four seats — in Arizona, Colorado and both Georgia seats — and losing just one, in Alabama.
The DSCC chair is selected by incoming Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who previously ran the committee for two cycles in 2006 and 2008, and has led the party’s political strategy as Democratic leader for the past four years. Peters emerged as the frontrunner recently, according to two people familiar with the discussion who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
A person close to the process emphasized that a final decision has not been made. It’s unclear when a public announcement would happen once the decision is official. Spokespeople for Schumer and Peters declined to comment for this story.
Peters’ candidacy was first reported by HuffPost on Tuesday.
Schumer is set to become majority leader Wednesday after three new senators, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Alex Padilla of California, are sworn in. Schumer and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, have yet to strike a deal on power sharing the evenly divided Senate.
The chair is typically decided much earlier: Chairs for the past three cycles were named in November. But the two Georgia runoffs in early January that gave Democrats control of the Senate delayed the process.
Peters is a somewhat unconventional choice, coming off a challenging election. Most recently, DSCC chairs have been a new senator or senators who are going to face difficult reelection bids in upcoming cycles. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), the outgoing chair, is up for reelection in 2022. But Peters ran in the same cycle as two Democrats who will defend their seats next year, Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Raphael Warnock of Georgia. And Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, two states similar to his home state of Michigan, are Democrats’ best pickup opportunities on the map.
Peters first won his Senate seat in 2014 despite running in a wave election for Republicans. Last year, he defeated James in Michigan by slightly less than two percentage points.