Fact Squad | Gary Peters ad highlights attendance, hits back at John James

Gary Peters passed nine bills in the Senate in the past two years and had a near-perfect attendance record, his campaign touts in a new ad. (Screenshot)

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters’ re-election campaign is becoming a referendum on his effectiveness, as the first-term Democrat launched a TV ad last week to dispute claims that he doesn’t show up for work.

Republican challenger John James, a Farmington Hills businessman, has portrayed Peters as a career politician who has few accomplishments to show for his five-plus years in the Senate and six years in the House.

In a response ad, Peters argues he’s not only highly rated as a senator but has one of the panel’s best attendance records. The Bloomfield Township Democrat makes the case with three claims, all of which are accurate but require explanation.


The ad argues that “Gary Peters shows up for Michigan, and that means results for you.”

“No one has written and passed more bills through the Senate in the past two years.”

The argument is made with three assertions: his 99.2 percent voting attendance record, his ability to pass bills and Lugar Center for Effective Lawmaking naming him “one of the most bipartisan and effective senators.” 

The Facts

The three claims are true.

Peters has been present at 99.2 percent of votes since 2015, including perfect attendance in 2019, per GovTrack. He’s also passed nine bills through the Senate since the start of the 116th session in 2019, the most of any senator

In the past two years, the Lugar Center — which was founded by former Republican Sen. RIchard Lugar — has named Peters the 12th most bipartisan senator and fourth most effective senator in the minority party.

“Gary Peters is one of the most effective and bipartisan leaders in the Senate,” campaign spokesperson Vanessa Valdivia told Bridge Michigan.

Some context adds nuance to the claims.

Peters’ attendance record is for Senate votes, not committee hearings, which are harder to quantify. The median lifetime attendance record of all 100 active senators is 98.3 percent, according to GovTrack, which notes that senators typically only miss votes “due to medical absences and major life events” such as running for president.

Peters has passed nine bills through the Senate, but two became law outright: the Support for Veterans in Effective Apprenticeships Act, which increased access to apprenticeship programs, and the Protecting America's Food and Agriculture Act, which increased the number of federal agricultural inspectors. 

Two other bills had provisions passed within another law, per GovTrack. This means that four of nine Peters bills passed both chambers and were signed into law in the past two years. Six senators surpassed that total.

James’ campaign called the ad a “pathetic attempt to pass off a failing performance as a passing grade … His voting record is nothing exceptional.” As proof, the campaign repeated claims that Peters missed hearings as a House member dating back to 2011 and a task force on China from 2015 to 2019.

Bridge Michigan already examined those accusations and deemed them misleading.

The Conclusion

Peters’ ad uses facts to support his argument about his attendance and ability to pass bills.

Claims from the James campaign that the Michigan senator is absent from his duties are demonstrably false.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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Not buying it
Wed, 09/16/2020 - 8:34pm

James said he would repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act with "something that will work in the real world." Too many people can't afford their care, including people who work at his company, he said.


So rich John James pays his employees poorly, doesn't a provide healthcare benefit, and they can't afford to by their own by his own admission. Can't wait to see what the GOP plans to replace Obamacare with. Over the last year, Trump promised twice that the plan would be revealed within two weeks, while Republicans in general have been promising us for years. Face it, they're habitual liars.

Jamie M
Thu, 09/17/2020 - 9:33am

Yes, someone ask John James why he doesn't pay his employees a living wage. If GOP healthcare must be tethered to employment, why can't working people afford basic healthcare?

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 10:22am

"So rich John James pays his employees poorly, doesn't provide a healthcare benefit, and they can't afford to by their own by his own admission." Do you have any more info on this remark? Would like to share it...
Our family is voting for Senator Gary Peters because he is honest, hard-working and promotes unity in our country. He cares deeply about all Americans, and especially small businesses and independent farmers. He is good for Michigan.
Gary Peters’ voting record:
•Foreign Policy | https://scorecard.fp4america.org/............. 85%
•Human Rights | https://www.hrc.org/resources/congressional-scorecard........ 98%
•Labor | https://aflcio.org/scorecard/legislators/gary-peters/ .......... 96%
•Civil Liberties | https://www.aclu.org/scorecard/legislators/mi-gary-peters/... 83%
•Environment | https://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/gary-c-peters/............. 93%
•Education | https://educationvotes.nea.org/legislative-report-card/.......... "A"
•Animal Protections | https://hslf.org/current_scorecard............... 100%
•Retirement Issues | https://retiredamericans.org/voting-record/.......... 98%

Here's a breakout of his entire record: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/gary_peters/412305/report-card/...
Note that Peters missed 0.0% of votes (0 of 428 votes) in 2019.

middle of the mit
Wed, 09/16/2020 - 10:26pm

I would like to see Bridge put the heat on John James for his pre-existing conditions support.


“Republican senators facing tough re-election fights this fall are expressing support for insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions, running ads at odds with their own recent votes and policy positions,” NBC News reports.


TRUMP: I have it all ready. I have it all ready.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it’s … you’ve been trying to strike down preexisting conditions…

TRUMP: It doesn’t matter. I have it all ready, and it’s a much better plan for you, and it’s a much better plan.


“I’m not going give you readout of what our health care plan looks like and who’s working on it,” McEnany snapped. “If you want to know, come work here at the White House.”

Anyone remember "Repeal and Replace"? That came out the day after Obamacare did. Republicans had the ability to Repeal and Replace in 2017 and 2018. They didn't because they had NO Replacement! Well, that is why Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain voted no.

It's 2020! A full 10 years after the Heritage Foundation Care Act was passed. There still isn't a bill. And they will take your pre-existing conditions from you, blame me, yes, me, and you conservatives will believe it all!


Thu, 09/17/2020 - 9:30am

I would love not to have car insurance until after an accident, I would love to not have home owners insurance until after something happens to my home, but I can't because it is a foolish idea that we should cover someone after they have a loss. Also, my bank will not give me a mortgage without homeowners insurance, I cannot drive a car on the street without car insurance. So why is the government meddling in this industry anyway and saying don't carry health insurance until you have a problem, then get the insurance and have that private company pay your bills. Once they are paid cancel it again and wait for the next event. I will vote for anyone that can eliminate the monster called Obamacare. It destroyed healthcare. We do not need the GOVERNMENT to come up with a new plan. Give this back to private industry and open it up wide to competition and we will have the greatest most reasonably priced healthcare in the world. Oh by the way how many of you single men aged 18 to 65 have used your maternity benefit that you must carry by government edicte?

middle of the mit
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 3:24pm

SJG, False analogy! Unless your car insurance covers mechanics too! That would be health care for your car! And half the people driving shouldn't have a license let alone insurance, but somehow they get both. Homeowners as well. And if you pay your premiums, it should be covered unless you were pulling a scam.

Sorry about your mortgage company, but this is all comparing apples to oranges. Why is the Government intervening in this market? Because the insurance industry was using anything at all and considering it a pre existing condition. IE; You were cancer free for the first 40 years of your life, then you got cancer. Shorter insurance company;" That was pre existing condition that you were born with and laid latent within you until this day. CLAIM DENIED FOR PRE EXISTING CONDITION."

All you have to do is get Republicans to stop lying about protecting the things you don't think we want or need. Why are they agreeing with something they don't agree with? Just answer that question.

And no! I as a single man I have never used maternity coverage. I have also never used viagra or a colonoscopy. Should those be covered options? By the way? My sisters have used those options. As have one of my nephews girlfriends and some of my female friends and my male friends spouses or significant others...............

Publicans. Only wanting to pay for the things they need, but wanting others to pay for it with their premiums, and then they are happy when those who have pre exisiting conditions get kicked out........"because that would just raise MY rates!"

One more question. What do you tell those who no longer have coverage?

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 9:39am

By "heat", you mean just elementary journalism? It isn't just Bridge, it's all the media. John James is being treated with kid gloves. He is "2,000 percent behind Trump" by his own admission. Yet he wants us to believe "no one owns him", again, by his own words. So despite whatever else he may say we know the truth about John James. Peters has a record of bipartisanship work in the Senate. Apparently, that is too radical for John James. Trump=James=Two extremists who only care about their base (lying, no values) base.

William C. Plumpe
Sun, 09/20/2020 - 12:10pm

And James says nobody owns him?
The DeVos family has contributed at least $1,000,000 to James campaigns.
NOBODY gives you a million dollars and expects nothing in return.
John James YOU are owned lock, stock and barrel by the DeVos family no matter what you say to the contrary.
Trump owns anything that's left.

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 9:31am

Another in kind donation by the Bridge for the Peters campaign.

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 10:01am

Another Fact: BREAKING: The Senate Homeland Security Committee has just authorized subpoenas for John Brennan, James Clapper and James Comey.
This is long overdue.
Senator Peters argued against this happening, he is a partisan hack who doesn't care about our country only about his party and himself.
I pray that our Presidents coattails are long enough to drag out this trash.

middle of the mit
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 10:05pm



Republican Senator Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, pulled a planned vote on a subpoena related to an investigation into Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas firm that once employed Hunter Biden, while securing subpoenas targeting dozens of former Obama administration officials in a separate probe.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican, criticized the investigation into Burisma as a "political exercise" during a committee meeting on Wednesday, after Johnson pulled the vote. Democrats have argued that Johnson and other Republicans are trying to undermine Joe Biden's presidential candidacy by probing his son's international business dealings

The subpoena would have required testimony from Bridget Brink, the U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, to discuss Burisma and "actual or apparent conflicts of interest with U.S.-Ukraine policy."

"Obviously it's the province of campaigns and political parties, opposition research, the media to carry out political endeavors, to learn about or dust up one's opponent, but it's not the legitimate role of government for Congress, or for taxpayer expense to be used in an effort to damage political opponents," Romney said. "Therefore I am pleased that our votes today do not include additional authorizations relating to the Biden/Burisma investigation."

LOL!!!! You don't get to use the Government to obfuscate, investigate or intimidate your opponents! Why did Oblame-o get to do it? HE didn't do it! YOUR PATRIOT ACT DID! LOL!! Like I told duane.........don't talk to adversarial foreign governments.............and the PATRIOT ACT won't listen to you!

What have you PATRIOTS got against the PATRIOT ACT? It's named after you!!!

Mr jimmi
Fri, 10/30/2020 - 10:42pm

Peters lies. And Dems who support Black Lives Matter need to look no further than John James. What is wrong with an African American in the Senate? James is no republican non thinker, but an honest, hard working American who is behold to no one.