Pennsylvania’s down-to-earth, shorts-loving lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, won the Democratic primary for Senate Tuesday night, beating centrist U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb. It’s a pretty remarkable victory for progressives in a crucial swing state.
The pro-legal marijuana, pro-choice, and anti-filibuster Fetterman may face Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz—yes, the reality show wingnut—in November to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican.
Fetterman had been the favorite to win the primary, but his victory was no longer guaranteed after he announced this past weekend that he was recovering from a stroke. Fetterman shared that his wife urged him to see a doctor after he wasn’t feeling well on Friday. “I went to the hospital to get checked out. I didn’t want to go—I didn’t think I had to—but Gisele insisted, and as usual, she was right,” Fetterman said in a statement. “I’m feeling much better, and the doctors tell me I didn’t suffer any cognitive damage. I’m well on my way to a full recovery.”
The 6'8", hoodie-wearing, Sheetz-not-Wawa-loving Fetterman gained national prominence during the 2020 presidential election when people were waiting for Pennsylvania’s votes to come in. A Today Show reporter asked him about former President Donald Trump’s expected legal challenges, and he responded, “The president can sue a ham sandwich. He can send a thousand lawyers to Pennsylvania, but it’s not going to change [the outcome].” His wife shared a charming behind-the-scenes photo from the interview showing a stack of books under a laptop plus their dog, Levi.
The primary got a little ugly after PACs supporting Lamb called Fetterman a socialist, and Lamb danced around calling him one in interviews. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) even criticized the ad in a Democratic caucus meeting, and one Philadelphia TV station pulled it.
The Republican primary was way more of a mess. Oz, the former Oprah-affiliated doctor who used to push quack treatments on TV until his show got canceled, got former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. In an interview on Monday, Oz asked voters to imagine him in bed with them. “When you go to bed at night, put your head on that soft pillow, you’ll know Oz will be doing exactly what you want him to do if you were there next to him,” he told Sean Hannity, as if this sentence could get more cursed.
Other Republican candidates included hedge fund billionaire David McCormick and right-wing commentator Kathy Barnette, who marched alongside members of the white supremacist group the Proud Boys in “Stop the Steal” protests in Washington, D.C., on January 6th. Barnette also didn’t deny that she entered the Capitol building that day.
It’s a pivotal Senate seat that could help Democrats end the filibuster and pass several pieces of crucial legislation, including voting rights, climate policy, and the bill to codify Roe v. Wade. Biden won Pennsylvania by just 1.2 percent in the 2020 election. No pressure John!!!!