‘Major red flag’: Expert warns Michigan race is so close Democrats might not win back the US Senate
Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) -- CNN screenshot

A political expert is pointing to the latest New York Times/ Sienna poll that puts incumbent U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan, just one point above his challenger, Republican John James, a West Point grad.

"A major red flag for Democrats," tweets Daniel Nichanian, an expert on local elections and voting rights, who is the founder and editorial director of The Appeal: Political Report. 

"NYT/Siena has Senator Gary Peters leading GOP challenger John James by just 1% (43/42), even as Biden leads 48/40 in the same sample," Nichanian adds.

"A loss for Dems here would be a major blow to their quest for a Senate majority, effectively requiring them to pick-up 5 GOP seats instead of 4 just to get to 50/50," he says.

For reasons unknown, Sen. Peters is apparently facing fundraising issues, he says, despite many Democratic candidates raising huge troves of cash to fight Republicans this year.

"Part of Mr. Peters’s weakness," The New York Times says, "is that he has thus far failed to match Mr. Biden’s tallies among nonwhite voters, who disproportionately remain undecided. It remains to be seen whether Mr. James, who is Black, will ultimately make significant inroads among these voters."

The Detroit Free Press last month called the Peters-James battle "one of the nastier races" this election cycle, blaming James for "one of the more negative campaigns for statewide office in recent memory."

The paper calls Senator Peters "one of the more productive and bipartisan senators in a Senate riven by partisanship."

“They’re kicking the living hell out of each other with negative ads,” said Bernie Porn, pollster for EPIC-MRA of Lansing, who said there is an outside chance James could upset Peters if trends that have seen the incumbent’s lead in the polls shrink don’t change.

Peters' fellow Senate Democrats have been trying to help.