“It’s official. I will be the next U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania,” Fetterman tweeted after his victory was announced. “We bet on the people of Pennsylvania – and you didn’t let us down. And I won’t let you down. Thank you.”
Fetterman’s victory snatches a critical open congressional seat back from Republicans after Sen. Pat Toomey decided not to run for reelection.
And with the Democrat having nurtured an image as a hoodie-wearing tattooed everyman (even if he did come from a well-off family), Fetterman also represents a model for how his party can stay competitive in swing states with candidates who appeal to white and blue-collar voters.
Fetterman’s victory will also be lauded by advocates for people with permanent and temporary disabilities, who defended him over the accommodations he needed as he recovered from a stroke.
Speaking to supporters just before 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Fetterman seemed at a loss for words as he laughed and wiped the corners of his eyes.
“I’m not really sure what to say right now, my goodness,” he told the crowd chanting his name. “I’m so humbled, thank you so much, really, thank you.”
Fetterman was joined onstage by his wife, Gisele, and their three children — who all donned hoodies like their dad.
“I’m proud of what we ran on,” he said. “Protecting a woman’s right to choose, raising our minimum wage, fighting [for] the union way of life. Healthcare is a fundamental human right. It saved my life, and it should all be there for you if you ever should need it.”
With the balance of power in the Senate on a knife’s edge, Pennsylvania had been one of the most closely watched races in the country. Groups on both sides poured tens of millions of dollars into the race.
This was Oz’s first campaign for elected office, and he quickly learned just how rough politics could be. During the Republican primary, opponent David McCormick hit Oz, who was born in the US but also holds Turkish citizenship, for having served in Turkey’s military and for voting in that country’s 2018 elections. These attacks questioning Oz’s loyalty to the US were criticized by some Republicans, with Sen. Lindsey Graham calling them “unsavory.”
After the contentious primary, Oz defeated McCormick by just 1,000 votes.
For the Democrats, Fetterman had long been the presumptive favorite, given his extensive name recognition in the state as lieutenant governor. He ended up garnering 58.6% of the vote, compared to Rep. Conor Lamb’s 26.3% and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta’s 10.9%.
But as the campaign got underway, Fetterman was mostly sidelined from in-person events following his near-deadly stroke in May. His doctor had told the media that Fetterman would be fit to serve in the Senate so long as he concentrated on his health and recovery in the short term. Oz soon began running a “basement tracker” to keep count of how many days Fetterman was at home.
Published: 2022-11-09 20:25:04