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Fetterman Wins

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Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor defeated Dr. Oz in one of the country’s most closely watched Senate battles.

John Fetterman—who won his first election in 2005 by a single provisional ballot in a race in which fewer than 1,000 people voted—has just won one of the most important Senate races in the nation, media outlets are projecting.

He beat out GOP challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon best known for hosting a medical talk show promoting “miracle” weight-loss drugs and other dubious science. Fetterman will take over retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s open seat in January.

Fetterman, currently the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, got his political start as the mayor of Braddock, a struggling post-industrial steel town nine miles east of Pittsburgh.

In three terms as mayor there, the six-foot-eight, 300-pound, tattooed and goateed social worker attempted to revitalize the community through both his official post, and via a nonprofit he founded called Braddock Redux. Through those channels, he opened a community center for after-school programs, oversaw a drop in the town’s murder rate, and incentivized an influx of new art, businesses, and resources. Later, as lieutenant governor, he prioritized his role on the state’s pardon board to give second chances to incarcerated individuals showing good behavior.

The Democratic win was far from guaranteed. Despite polling strongly through early October, even holding a double-digit lead over Oz in mid-August, Fetterman’s campaign took a nosedive around the start of early voting. Some attributed the decline to Fetterman’s poor performance during his sole debate against Oz on October 25.

Fetterman, who suffered a stroke in May, struggles with aphasia—a speech condition that does not affect intellect, but has caused him to mix up words, conjugate them incorrectly, and sometimes forget them. The stroke’s impact was especially apparent when debating Oz, a polished Daytime Emmy winner.

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