Advance Notice: Briefs

Peters, up for reelection in 2020, lands key Homeland Security committee post

By: - December 12, 2018 9:51 pm

Gary Peters | Susan J. Demas

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) will serve as the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee next term. That’s the upper chamber’s principal oversight committee.

Peters, a freshman who succeeded U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Detroit) when he retired in 2014, is up for re-election in 2020. The GOP is expected to put up a strong challenge.

John James

Republican John James, a military veteran who gave Michigan’s senior U.S. senator, Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing), a tougher-than-expected fight in 2018, could run again next cycle. President Trump was reportedly considering James as United Nations ambassador, but ultimately didn’t pick him.

Peters, a former congressman, also could face competition in the Democratic primary from his left. Filmmakers Nick Hayes and Naomi Burton, who are members of the Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists for America, did a video for U.S. Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). They told the Detroit Metro Times in June that they were next “coming for” Democrats like Peters who “take corporate dollars.”

U.S. Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, could be a potential progressive challenger. Abdul El-Sayed, who was endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for his unsuccessful 2018 gubernatorial bid, told the Atlantic he’s informed Peters he won’t primary him.

Abdul El-Sayed

Peters previously served as ranking member of the Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management within the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

“The committee plays a vital role in our nation’s security, and as Ranking Member I will work to promote the safety and security of all communities,” said Peters in a statement. “Our country faces a number of challenges, whether it is securing our Northern and Southern borders, combatting cutting-edge threats like cyber attacks or ensuring local communities have the resources they need to respond to emergencies. I look forward to working with Senator Johnson and our colleagues to address these serious challenges and ensure that the communities our constituents call home are great places to live, work and raise a family.”

Peters currently serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Joint Economic Committee.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.