The Democratic Party should be "a party of the heartland of America," according Sen. Gary Peters (D., Mich.), but the majority of the freshman senator's campaign contributions have come from donors in coastal states.
"I think it's important for the Democratic Party to understand we're not just a party of the coasts," Peters told Politico on Monday. "We're also a party of the heartland of America."
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Although Michigan is the state with the highest contribution of $1,183,611, the majority of his campaign contributions have come from out-of-state donors. Peters was especially successful in Washington, D.C., California, and New York, where he raised $966,553, $363,281, and $298,048, respectively. Peters also raised over $100,000 in Virginia and Massachusetts, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
The Michigan senator's campaign has also received fundraising plugs from fellow Democratic senators who represent coastal states. Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) presidential campaign sent out a fundraising email urging her supporters to donate to Peters on August 11.
"If Gary loses in Michigan, the path to a Democratic Senate majority gets significantly more narrow. That's why I'm asking for your donation," Warren's campaign wrote in an email highlighting the necessity of regaining ground in Michigan, a state which President Donald Trump won the 2016 election. It's similar to when Warren asked her supporters to donate former Rep. Beto O'Rourke's long shot campaign for Senate in April of 2018.
Fellow presidential contenders Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) also sent out fundraising emails for Peters in December 2018 and January 2019, according to MLive. Gillibrand's email promoted Peters as a "fierce champion for our shared progressive values in the Senate."
Nevertheless, Peters has struggled to gain name recognition. Although he was elected to the Senate in 2014, Peters consistently ranks as one of the least-known senators, with a 2018 Morning Consultant survey finding that 40 percent of respondents have never heard of him. Locally, a third of Michiganders have also never heard of him, according to Politico.
Peters's apparent Republican challenger John James unsuccessfully ran against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) in 2018. James announced his 2020 campaign in June on Fox News Channel's Fox and Friends, where he decried "career politicians."
The Peters campaign did not respond to request for comment.