Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman made a return to the campaign trail, after taking a three-month hiatus from in-person events due to a stroke he suffered in May.
Mr. Fetterman, who is the current Lt. Gov. for Pennsylvania, held a rally for more than 1,000 people in Erie on Friday, zeroing in on his health problems and absence from his race against GOP nominee Mehmet Oz.
“My life could have ended. It’s the truth. But, I’m so grateful to be here tonight. Gisele saved my life,” Mr. Fetterman said, thanking his wife who noticed early signs of him having a stroke.
Mr. Fetterman spoke mostly on a personal level in his speech but did touch on his goals to raise the minimum wage, defend unions and protect abortion rights.
The Lt. Gov. was treated by doctors after his stroke, who attached a pacemaker with a defibrillator to his heart intended to treat cardiomyopathy. Mr. Fetterman received the diagnosis of the disease after the stroke.
Dr. Oz has been aggressively campaigning against Mr. Fetterman’s absence, accusing him of hiding in his basement — an attack used against President Biden during the 2020 election.
“Pennsylvanians know John Fetterman hasn’t shown up to the campaign trail, but they might not know that as Mayor of Braddock, he didn’t show up for work either. He skipped at least 53 meetings as mayor. Pennsylvanians deserve better,” Mr. Oz tweeted, linking a story about Mr. Fetterman’s time as mayor.
Despite his absence, a recent poll showed Mr. Fetterman holds a double-digit lead over Mr. Oz. The poll, conducted by Momentive/ SurveyMonkey for the nonpartisan Center Street PAC, had Mr. Fetterman having 47% of support, compared to Mr. Oz’s 30% with another 23% were undecided. The poll, recorded between July 29-Aug. 1, surveyed 1,206 Pennsylvania voters.
Pennsylvania will be one of the most closely-watched Senate races in the country, with Democrats seeking to flip a swing GOP seat.
Republicans are hoping to hold onto the seat, which is currently held by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey.
The Senate is currently at 50-50, meaning an extra seat for Democrats could give them a greater opportunity to pass their agenda which often gets stalled in the upper chamber.