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Peters will run Senate Democrats’ campaign arm again

Michigan senator previously said he did not plan to continue in role

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and DSSC Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., hold a news conference on Dec. 7.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and DSSC Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., hold a news conference on Dec. 7. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters will chair the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for a second cycle, as Democrats face a more difficult election map in 2024.

Peters led the campaign arm for the last two years, and Democrats increased their majority to 51 seats with Sen. John Fetterman’s victory in Pennsylvania. Sens. Tina Smith of Minnesota and Alex Padilla of California will serve as vice chairs, Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said in a statement.

“Senate Democrats won big in 2022 by working hard and taking nothing for granted — and that’s the same approach I will bring to our campaigns in 2024,” Peters said in a statement.  “Alongside Tina and Alex, I look forward to protecting and strengthening our Democratic majority, so that we can continue standing up for hard working Americans in the Senate and fighting back against Republicans’ chaotic, dangerous agenda.”

Peters had previously said he would not lead the committee for a second cycle, and the role was not filled last year when Schumer announced his leadership team. Peters earned praise from his colleagues for leading the DSCC in a cycle in which no Democratic incumbent lost reelection. 

“Gary is a battle tested, proven winner whose hard work led Senate Democrats to defy the political odds and to one of our best midterm results in recent history,” Schumer said in a statement. 

While Democrats grew their majority and will not have to abide by the power-sharing agreement with Republicans that the chamber operated under for the last two years, they will be defending more seats than Republicans next year. Democrats will be defending 21 seats, along with seats held by independent Sens. Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, to 11 that Republicans will have to defend. 

Democrats will have to defend seats in red states like West Virginia and Montana, as well as in competitive states including Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with few obvious pickup opportunities. Peters’ home-state colleague, Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, said last week she would not seek reelection, which could spur a competitive Democratic primary. 

The DSCC will also have to decide whether to support Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who won her seat as a Democrat in 2018 but in November said she was registering as an independent.

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