Democrat John Fetterman beats Trump-backed Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania Senate race

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is headed to the U.S. Senate following a campaign full of personal health debates and a fight for control of one of the nation’s battleground states. He defeated Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz.

The Senate seat was vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, creating the first open Senate seat in Pennsylvania in a dozen years. Fetterman’s victory helps the Democrats as they look to secure bigger margins on Capitol Hill.

Currently, Democrats hold a narrow majority in the House, and the Senate is split at 50-50, with Vice President Harris holding a tie-breaking vote.

Fetterman’s health came into question after he suffered a stroke days before the primary; he needed to undergo a pacemaker implant procedure. For two months he did not return to the campaign trail and only did video appearances.

Fetterman did go back on the road and used closed captioning for some interviews.

Oz, who rose to prominence in appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, announced his bid for the Senate last year based on opposition to the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oz has promoted hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment, has previously been criticized for other health recommendations, and has testified at a Senate hearing on deceptive advertising for diet supplements.

Fetterman fends off Oz in Pennsylvania Senate showdown

“I never expected that we were going to turn these red counties blue, but we did what we had to do,” he said.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has defeated Republican candidate Mehmet Oz, flipping the seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey into Democratic hands.

Fetterman’s victory is a significant win for Democrats, representing potentially their only Senate pick up of the cycle. With Democratic incumbents facing tough races in other battleground states, winning Pennsylvania bolsters the party’s hopes to hold on to their no-room-for-error 50-50 majority for another two years.

“I am so humbled,” Fetterman said to supporters after the race was called. “We held the line. I never expected that we were going to turn these red counties blue, but we did what we had to do.”

Pennsylvania was viewed by both parties as the frontline for their strategies for winning the chamber. Though Oz was outspent and outraised by Fetterman, the Senate race topped out as the most expensive this cycle so far, with outside money pouring in. (The Georgia race could still ultimately claim the title if it goes to a December runoff.)

Fetterman beat Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) in their party’s primary, a win for progressives. And he led in polls against Oz for most of the year, but the race entered nailbiter territory in the final weeks as Oz appeared to close the gap thanks to a calvary of GOP groups spent heavily against him.

Fetterman’s campaign took a multipronged approach to trying to beat Oz, painting the wealthy celebrity doctor as out-of-touch and homing in on his longtime New Jersey residency, while also following national Democrats using the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade reversal to try to push Oz’s position on abortion into the spotlight.

Oz, and his allies, meanwhile spent the final stretch of the campaign focused on crime — reflecting a message that the party deployed in congressional races across the country. An ad from MAGA Inc., a super PAC founded by Donald Trump allies, accused Fetterman of wanting “ruthless killers, muggers and rapists back on our streets.”

In a sign of the times, their campaign frequently played out online in a war of memes, among them a viral video of Oz wandering through a grocery store buying ingredients for crudité. (Oz later called it a joke.)

But the Democrat’s campaign was thrown a curveball when Fetterman suffered a stroke in May, returning to the trail in August. Shortly after he did, Oz’s campaign put out statements making an issue out of Fetterman’s diet and accusing him of being unable to debate.

Oz appeared to distance himself from the attacks, telling NBC News that he wouldn’t use that rhetoric about a patient. And Fetterman moved to try to address public concerns about his health, releasing an ad on the issue and medical reports.

The two ultimately had their first, and only, debate on Oct. 25, where Fetterman visibly stumbled with answers to some questions in a moment that left some Democrats wincing.

Fetterman in his victory speech repeated a line he had deployed over the last two weeks in response to questions about his debate performance.

“This campaign has always been about fighting for everyone who’s ever been gotten knocked down and ever gotten back up,” he said, to applause.

Pennsylvania was one of six open seats Republicans were playing defense on this year as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saw a stable of his members, and some of his most reliable allies, head for the exits.


The victory, with Fetterman outpacing Biden, gives Democrats breathing room in their uphill bid to keep the Senate in a midterm election.

Democrats won control of a crucial Senate seat on Tuesday night when Pennsylvanians elected John Fetterman. As of Wednesday morning, with over 90 percent of the vote in, Fetterman was leading Republican Mehmet Oz by just over 2 points, outpacing President Joe Biden’s 2020 win across virtually the entire state.

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Fetterman’s race with celebrity doctor Oz turned ugly quickly. Six months before the election, Fetterman had a major stroke that took him off the campaign trail and made it difficult for him to have conversations or debate. His campaign turned to social media to paint Oz as an out-of-touch celebrity living in a mansion in New Jersey. Oz took shots at Fetterman’s fitness to serve after the stroke and painted him as soft on crime.

“We started this campaign almost two years ago, and we had our slogan,” Fetterman, dressed in a typical hooded sweatshirt, told cheering supporters just before 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday. “Every county, every vote. That’s exactly what happened. We jammed them up. We held the line. I never expected that we were gonna turn these red counties blue. But we did what we needed to do.”

Though it’s unclear whether Democrats will be able to hold the Senate, Fetterman’s win gives the party breathing room as results still come in from Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia.

The victory in the Pennsylvania Senate race came as a surprise to some Democratic observers after polls in the final weeks of the race showed Fetterman’s lead had been cut in half since August. Oz surged thanks to the ads blanketing Pennsylvania media markets that painted Fetterman as a socialist. Despite inflation being a top issue for voters, abortion access appears to have driven some voters in Pennsylvania, after Oz said during a debate late last month that local political leaders should have a say in personal decisions regarding abortion.

“Pennsylvania’s voters are hurting,” said Joe Corrigan, a Democratic strategist. “Those voters saw right through the fraud that is Mehmet Oz.” Corrigan said Fetterman stuck with his positions in the face of “fearmongering ads.” “He leaned into his record as a criminal justice reformer and not away from it,” Corrigan said. “He’s brave and he was rewarded for it.”

A NUMBER OF THINGS broke right for Democrats in Pennsylvania and across the country, as exit polls showed that abortion was a top issues for voters, not crime. A potential red tsunami was staved off.

Pennsylvania, a crucial swing state that Biden won by 80,000 votes, saw a raft of key victories for Democrats in the 2022 midterms.

Democrats kept control of the governor’s mansion despite a competitive campaign run by Republican candidate Doug Mastriano. Democrats gambled on promoting the far-right candidate in the Republican primary, and the strategy paid off for Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro. Shapiro’s campaign spent just under $1 million on ads that highlighted Mastriano’s ties to Trump and extreme positions.

Democrats also held onto a congressional seat in Pittsburgh, with soon-to-be Squad member Summer Lee emerging victorious against Republican candidate Mike Doyle. The loss also represents a blow to the election efforts of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.

The deep-blue seat suddenly looked shaky in the last weeks of the election when internal, private polls started to show Doyle, who shares a name with the outgoing Democratic incumbent, gaining on Lee. Democrats scrambled to fight millions of dollars spent by Republicans against Lee. The National Republican Congressional Committee attacked Lee as soft on crime, including in ads in a neighboring district that shares a media market with Pittsburgh.

Once the race tightened, AIPAC came in with a last-minute flood of cash. AIPAC’s election arm, United Democracy Project, had worked with major Democratic firms to attack Lee in the primary, and spent more than $3 million on the failed effort.

Progressive groups including Justice Democrats, the Working Families Party, and SEIU Healthcare PA spent more than $1.6 million backing Lee. In a press release on Tuesday night, WFP Pennsylvania organizing director Nicolas O’Rourke called Lee’s win a victory against “right-wing and corporate forces” and said Lee would “join a growing bench of Working Families Democrats in Congress who will fight for higher wages, lower costs, safe communities, and clean air and water.”

The Republican ads against Lee in the neighboring 17th District were aiming to tie her to the Democratic candidate there, Chris Deluzio. The seat is currently held by Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa. Lamb gave up his seat to run in the Democratic Senate primary, which he lost to Fetterman by more than 30 percentage points in May.

John Fetterman will defeat Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania Senate race, CNN projects

Democrat John Fetterman will win the Pennsylvania Senate race, CNN projects, defeating Republican Mehmet Oz, flipping the seat and boosting Democratic hopes of keeping their majority.

Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor since 2019, and Oz, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, ran one of the most contentious and expensive Senate contests in the country – all of it while Fetterman continued his recovery from a pre-primary stroke that often limited his ability to speak on the trail.

For Democrats trying to preserve their control of what has been a Senate split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote, Fetterman’s win could prove decisive.

Oz called Fetterman to concede the race at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s retirement in a state President Joe Biden won two years ago created Democrats’ best opportunity to pick up a seat and save their narrow majority, and the Commonwealth entered Election Day as one of at least nine states holding what were expected to be competitive Senate races.

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Fetterman’s victory caps a remarkable ascent from his time as mayor of Braddock, a borough in western Pennsylvania, to the lieutenant governor’s office – which he won after unseating a fellow Democrat in a 2018 primary – to the US Senate. A longtime progressive, he is an outspoken supporter of abolishing the filibuster, raising the minimum wage, legalizing marijuana, criminal justice reform and passing legislation to protect same-sex marriage, among other leading liberal priorities.

His success will also provide inspiration to stroke survivors and other disabled Americans, some of whom took heart from his efforts to carry on campaigning even as he exhibited the lingering effects of his May stroke. Fetterman, though he has not released his full medical records, has said he expects to be at or near full strength by the time he takes office early next year.

Though Oz himself largely steered clear of disparaging Fetterman over his stroke-related difficulties, his campaign was less cautious, leading the Republican to repeatedly distance himself from his own staffers’ remarks. Asked at one point late in the campaign whether he would speak to his own patients the way his campaign addressed Fetterman, Oz responded with one word: “No.”

The White House didn’t weigh in on individual races over the course of election night. But following Fetterman’s projected win, it sent a subtle, if pointed message: “The president had a great time with the senator-elect on Saturday,” a White House official told CNN.

While many Democrats in battleground seats sought to avoid Biden’s presence on the campaign trail, Fetterman embraced the president. Biden made several trips to Pennsylvania and each time in the closing months of the race, Fetterman would appear alongside of him, including in Philadelphia this past weekend.

Biden’s Pennsylvania roots are an integral part of his story, his win in 2020 is central to the presidency, and now, after 20 visits to the state in his first two years in office, it marks the first Democratic pickup in the critical battle for the Senate majority.

El demócrata John Fetterman ganó un crucial escaño al Senado en Pensilvania

El actual vicegobernador venció al popular “Dr. Oz” y revocó una banca que ocupaba el Partido Republicano, en un resultado que alimenta las esperanzas del oficialismo de mantener el control de la Cámara Alta

Uno de los grandes vencedores de la noche fue el demócrata John Fetterman, actual vicegobernador de Pensilvania y que, con sus más de dos metros de altura y su aspecto rudo, se hizo con uno de los dos asientos del Senado en este estado al derrotar a Mehmet Oz, aliado de Trump y conocido popularmente como Dr. Oz por sus apariciones en televisión.

El demócrata ganó la crucial carrera dando la vuelta a un escaño republicano mientras se recuperaba de un derrame cerebral durante la campaña, y dando a los demócratas la esperanza de poder mantener el control de la cámara, estrechamente dividida, para impulsar la agenda del presidente Joe Biden durante dos años más.

Fetterman, que se convirtió en un héroe progresista como alcalde de una ciudad siderúrgica en decadencia, derrotó Oz, un cirujano cardíaco rico y de buen tono, convertido en una celebridad de la televisión, que acababa de trasladarse al estado de la batalla presidencial para presentarse al Senado.

Fetterman atribuyó el mérito a su estrategia de campaña “cada condado, cada voto”, en la que el candidato, tatuado y con sudadera con capucha, trató de devolver el Partido Demócrata a zonas de clase trabajadora predominantemente blanca que lo han rechazado cada vez más, incluso cuando se presentó con una plataforma progresista.

“Y eso es exactamente lo que ocurrió”, dijo Fetterman, de 53 años, a una multitud que lo aclamaba a primera hora del miércoles en un concierto en Pittsburgh. “Los atascamos. Mantuvimos la línea. Nunca esperé que convirtiéramos estos condados rojos en azules, pero hicimos lo que teníamos que hacer y mantuvimos esa conversación en cada uno de esos condados.”

Fetterman pasó gran parte de la campaña defendiéndose de los ataques de Oz, que cuestionaba si era honesto sobre los efectos de la apoplejía y si era apto para el puesto. Prometió ser el “voto 51″ de los demócratas para aprobar una legislación fundamental que proteja los derechos al aborto, la atención sanitaria, el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, los sindicatos y el voto, así como para aumentar el salario mínimo.

Fetterman ha comparado su derrame cerebral del 13 de mayo -que le impidió hablar con fluidez y procesar rápidamente el significado de la conversación hablada, un efecto común llamado trastorno del procesamiento auditivo- con el hecho de haber sido derribado y lo adoptó como misión de campaña.

Se presentó para “cualquier persona que haya sido derribada y se haya levantado”, dijo a la multitud. “Esta carrera es por el futuro de todas las comunidades de Pensilvania, por cada pueblo pequeño o persona que se sintió dejada atrás, por cada puesto de trabajo que se ha perdido, por cada fábrica que se cerró alguna vez y por cada persona que trabajó duro pero nunca salió adelante”.

Fetterman habló sin problemas a primera hora del miércoles, pero necesitó subtítulos durante las entrevistas con los medios de comunicación y, hace dos semanas, durante el único debate entre ambos. Tuvo una actuación difícil en la que le costó completar las frases, mezcló las palabras y alimentó la preocupación dentro de su partido de que había condenado la carrera.

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Para subrayar la importancia de la carrera, Biden hizo campaña en Pensilvania por Fetterman tres veces en las últimas tres semanas, mientras que el ex presidente Donald Trump vino también para celebrar un mitin por Oz, su candidato avalado.

En sus breves declaraciones a la multitud de su fiesta de la noche electoral en un centro de fitness en los suburbios de Filadelfia, Oz agradeció a los partidarios y exudó optimismo. “Cuando se cuenten todos los votos, creemos que ganaremos esta carrera”, dijo Oz a la multitud jubilosa a última hora del martes. A primera hora del miércoles no había dado su brazo a torcer.

Oz llevaba un gran carga que lo lastraba, incluyendo el hecho de que acababa de mudarse de su mansión en Nueva Jersey y de que apenas había ganado unas primarias muy duras en las que sus oponentes le tacharon de liberal de Hollywood fuera de lugar.

En todo momento, Oz -un novato político sin raíces en la política de Pensilvania- tuvo dificultades para conectar con algunos votantes republicanos, incluidos los que pensaban que era demasiado cercano a Trump, demasiado liberal o demasiado inauténtico.

Fetterman ganó a pesar de los vientos en contra de la política nacional para los demócratas, como el aumento de la inflación. Sucederá al senador republicano Pat Toomey, que se retira en su segundo mandato.

Fetterman trató de aprovechar la indignación por la decisión del Tribunal Supremo sobre el aborto y prometió votar para abolir el filibusterismo.

Las encuestas mostraban una carrera reñida, en la que la economía y el derecho al aborto pesaban mucho en los votantes.

Alrededor de la mitad de los votantes del estado dicen que la economía y el empleo son los temas más importantes a los que se enfrenta el país, según AP VoteCast, una amplia encuesta realizada a más de 3.100 votantes del estado. Entre ese grupo de votantes, Oz aventaja a Fetterman.

La decisión del Tribunal Supremo de anular el caso Roe v. Wade también desempeñó un papel en la decisión de la mayoría de los votantes, ya que aproximadamente 8 de cada 10 lo consideraron un factor. Alrededor de una cuarta parte lo consideró el factor más importante, y la mayoría de esos votantes votaron por Fetterman.

Según la encuesta, aproximadamente la mitad de los encuestados se mostraron convencidos de que Fetterman está lo suficientemente sano como para desempeñar su labor con eficacia, y la otra mitad manifestó sus reservas.

Más votantes dijeron que no confían en que Oz esté lo suficientemente familiarizado con Pensilvania para servir eficazmente como senador que los que expresaron su confianza, según la encuesta.

Fetterman caracterizó el voto a favor de Oz como un voto para prohibir el aborto – ridiculizando el comentario de Oz durante el debate de que quiere que “las mujeres, los médicos, los líderes políticos locales” decidan el destino del aborto – y pintó a Oz como un vendedor de televisión sin alma que vendía suplementos de salud inútiles por dinero y que diría o haría cualquier cosa para ser elegido.

Fetterman se vio obligado a dar explicaciones sobre sus posturas progresistas a un electorado de estados indecisos, incluyendo un cambio de opinión sobre la perforación de gas natural y el indulto de presos estatales condenados por asesinato.

Al final, el atractivo de Fetterman se impuso a la celebridad de Oz como presentador del programa de televisión diurno “The Dr. Oz Show”. En los últimos días de la carrera, Oprah Winfrey, que lanzó la carrera televisiva de Oz, apoyó a Fetterman.

Fetterman es irreverente, dice palabrotas en las redes sociales y parece más bien un luchador profesional envejecido. Mide 1,80 metros, está tatuado, tiene barba de chivo y está enfadado, con la cabeza bien afeitada y una vestimenta informal que a menudo incluye pantalones cortos, incluso en invierno.

Los demócratas llegaron a verlo como alguien que podría normalizar el partido con los votantes desilusionados en la era de Trump.

La elección fue la más cara para un escaño en el Senado de Estados Unidos en este ciclo de campaña, superando los 300 millones de dólares. El dinero de los grupos nacionales llegó a raudales, y Oz gastó más de 25 millones de dólares de su propia fortuna en la carrera.

Gran parte del dinero republicano destinado a los anuncios de televisión se centró en la delincuencia, sugiriendo que los demócratas no han protegido a la gente de la violencia y las drogas y pretendiendo socavar una de las vías de atracción de Fetterman para los votantes negros: sus esfuerzos como vicegobernador para liberar a los encarcelados en exceso, rehabilitados o inocentes.

Fetterman, ex alcalde durante 13 años de la pequeña y empobrecida Braddock, cerca de Pittsburgh, utilizó su tiempo allí para establecer credenciales con la comunidad negra en la ciudad mayoritariamente negra, en la lucha contra la violencia de las armas y para mantener un hospital en la comunidad asolada por el crimen.

Lleva tatuado el código postal de Braddock -15104- en un antebrazo y, mientras fue alcalde, la fecha de cada uno de los asesinatos ocurridos en la ciudad mientras trabajaba para prevenir la delincuencia.

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