U.S. Sen. Gary Peters is getting an assist from former President Barack Obama, who appears in a new TV ad for the Michigan Democrat locked in a tight re-election race.

Two weeks before the Nov. 3 election, the Peters campaign released the ad that features Obama, who previously endorsed him, speaking directly to the camera.

“When you’re President, you learn real fast who has your back, and in Michigan that was always Gary Peters,” Obama says of the Bloomfield Township Democrat in the ad. “Gary was there every step of the way. Helping save the auto industry, protecting the Great Lakes, covering pre-existing conditions.”

The former president concludes, “I’m Barack Obama, and I hope you’ll vote for my friend Gary Peters.”  

First elected to the Senate in 2014, Peters is one of two incumbent Democratic senators up for election in states that President Donald Trump won in 2016. He is in a competitive race against Republican John James, a businessman and Iraq war veteran from Farmington Hills.

Peters led James 45%-40% in a Detroit News and WDIV-TV poll of 600 likely Michigan voters from Sept. 30-Oct. 3. The survey had a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.

Nationally, Democrats need to pick up four seats to take control of the U.S. Senate, or they can flip three seats and hold the vice presidency. The former president is also appearing in an ad for Sara Gideon, a Maine Democrat who is challenging Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, according to The Portland Press Herald.

Obama won Michigan by 9 percentage points against Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 and by 16 percentage points against Republican John McCain in 2008.

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cmauger@detroitnews.com