Pennsylvania Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman survived a bruising Senate marketing campaign and overcame a severe stroke to prevail in opposition to Republican Mehmet Oz to say his state’s open Senate seat Tuesday. Fetterman rebounded after having watched his double-digit lead in the summertime evaporate right into a lifeless warmth after a near-disastrous debate efficiency two weeks earlier than the election, during which he had hassle articulating sentences. At one level within the debate, Fetterman insisted he had at all times supported fracking, even when confronted together with his personal statements that indicated he didn’t help fracking two years in the past.
He used his 6-foot-8 body and biker persona — he campaigned in hoodies, shorts and tattoos — mixed with the credential of a Harvard Kennedy College of Authorities diploma to determine a blue-collar narrative shored up by management smarts.
But that stumble didn’t preserve Fetterman from succeeding, as a result of he was nonetheless higher than Oz at promoting himself as an genuine chief for Pennsylvanians. To somebody who watched each step of his rise as a mayor from a metal metropolis exterior Pittsburgh from my perch at Metal Metropolis’s greatest newspaper, I noticed how he was in a position to attraction to white working-class voters (the individuals who have left the Democratic Occasion in droves) on the identical time he stayed largely dedicated to his progressive politics. By utilizing this method and never conceding purple counties to Republicans, he could give Democrats — who’ve as a substitute more and more focused suburban swing voters — a brand new mannequin for a path to victory.
Fetterman has moved nearly seamlessly from a 13-year run because the small-town mayor of Braddock to the lieutenant governorship in 2019 to the U.S. Senate at the moment. He used his 6-foot-8 body and biker persona — he campaigned in hoodies, shorts and tattoos — mixed with the credential of a Harvard Kennedy College of Authorities diploma to determine a blue-collar narrative shored up by management smarts. That helped his picture stay unstained by airings of his historical past of residing off his mother and father’ wealth for a lot of his grownup life. I believed that revelation may damage him, however it apparently didn’t — maybe as a result of those that have struggled financially might relate to needing household assist to get by.
That additionally may clarify why the aftereffects of a life-threatening stroke in Might that restricted his campaigning didn’t sink his candidacy. He requested in rallies whether or not others had ever battled well being challenges, and most raised their palms that they’d, suggesting the message of going through obstacles resonated with them.
Oz’s assault on Fetterman’s refusal to launch his medical information did damage him. Oz launched his information just a few days after a Put up-Gazette editorial requested each candidates to take action, however Fetterman by no means did. Nonetheless, the negatives surrounding Oz — mainly his picture as a slick, out-of-touch New Jersey resident who parachuted into Pennsylvania to seize a Senate seat — proved an excessive amount of to beat.
Lingering allegations that Oz as a star speak present host amassed a few of his fortune by peddling merchandise of doubtful medical worth additionally tainted his fame. They could additionally clarify why Fetterman’s personal monetary query marks didn’t do him extra harm.
The ideological chasm between the 2 candidates framed the marketing campaign, as Fetterman helps an enormous improve within the minimal wage and “Medicare for All,” at the same time as he tempered his progressive agenda with — in a attainable election-year conversion — extra right-leaning insurance policies like fracking. Fetterman has additionally vowed to place a excessive precedence on union rights and abortion rights, whereas Oz took the alternative stands.
However even these distinctions largely descended right into a battle of political labels relatively than a concentrate on the insurance policies themselves. Whereas Oz tried to use the pair’s ideological variations by calling Fetterman “excessive” and “radical” again and again, Fetterman’s portrayal of Oz as a “liar” was the label that caught most sturdily.
In the long run, although, I believe most individuals have been happy that Fetterman would no less than vote the precise means and never impede the Biden agenda, no matter his well being.
A part of Fetterman’s attraction is that he’s not a schmoozer — and he doesn’t need to grow to be one. Nor does he must sacrifice his beliefs. However to ship as a senator, he might want to get together with folks to kind alliances that transfer the needle, and that received’t be simple in a fractious Congress. As a small-town mayor and lieutenant governor, a place with few official duties, Fetterman might go it alone; he received’t be capable to within the U.S. Senate if he needs to ship for the folks of Pennsylvania.