John Fetterman returns to campaign after suffering stroke in May

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“Three months ago my life could have ended, but I’m also very grateful to be here tonight,” Fetterman said, thanking the crowd and his wife, Gisele, for their support.

“Gisele saved my life,” he added.

Fetterman, a press spokesman said, did not prepare remarks ahead of the rally. His return to the track marked a milestone for the candidate, who has only graced the headlines with fundraising and informal campaign rallies while recovering from the stroke, which happened within days. ahead of the Commonwealth Democratic primary.

Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, didn’t spend much time outlining his vision for the state or his policy goals during the roughly 11-minute address, beyond telling supporters that ‘They wouldn’t have to guess his position on key issues like raising the federal minimum wage, protecting access to reproductive care, supporting unions and ending the filibuster. But he took a few swipes at Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, saying, “There are a lot of differences between me and Dr Oz. Who would have ever thought I would be normal?”

“He doesn’t live here. He doesn’t concern us. He doesn’t care about us,” he later said.

Sometimes Fetterman’s voice seemed to trail off at the end of a thought. In an interview with CNN affiliate KDKA on Thursday night, he acknowledged that he had had ongoing issues from the stroke, including auditory processing issues. “I will sometimes miss a word, or sometimes I can put two words together in a conversation, but that’s really the only problem and it’s getting better every day,” he said.

Fetterman easily won the primary and has spent the following months recovering as he looks to the general election against Oz.
The Pennsylvania Senate race to succeed retired GOP Senator Pat Toomey represents the best chance for Democrats to land an evenly divided Senate seat in what is expected to be a trying midterm election for the president’s party. Joe Biden.

Erie is a hot spot for the Democratic nominee — Erie County voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, then switched to Donald Trump in 2016 before switching back to Democrats in 2020 narrowly supporting Biden. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, with Fetterman as his running mate, carried the county by more than 20 points in 2018.

“If you can’t win Erie County, you can’t win Pennsylvania,” Fetterman said Friday to loud applause.

A long line of voters had gathered outside the Bayfront Convention Center with an air of excitement before the candidate took the stage, eager to hear the Democrat’s speech.

Bonnie Casane, an Erie resident who has described herself as a “strong Fetterman supporter,” told CNN she was previously an independent but re-registered as a Democrat to vote for Fetterman in the of the May primary election: “Fetterman was the party to switch to, so I switched to the Democratic Party.”

“He’s for Pennsylvania, he’s not a politician. He doesn’t have an agenda, and I think his agenda is to make Pennsylvania better,” Casane said, adding that legalizing marijuana, a part of Fetterman Platformis one of its priorities.

Mike Dropcho, a retired X-ray technician and former union member, told CNN he liked Fetterman to be “down to earth.”

“He’s not a celebrity who’s just there for who knows what,” Dropcho said. “He strikes me as someone who is for the people. He’s one of us.”

Asked about Fetterman’s health and his return to the campaign trail on Friday, Dropcho said he was confident Fetterman would make a comeback.

“After working in the medical field for so long and seeing the reports, I knew he was going to be fine,” he said.

Although he was absent from the campaign trail for much of the summer, Fetterman edged out Oz in the second quarter – bringing in nearly $11 million for the three months ended June 30, down from around $5.5 million. of dollars, including $3.2 million in personal loans, for his opponent. Fetterman also used a deluge of TV ads and digital strategies to try to frame the celebrity doctor as an out-of-state figure who moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to run for the Senate.
Most recently, the campaign paid to run a billboard on the New Jersey side of the Betsy Ross Bridge outside of Philadelphia. “Now leaving New Jersey for Pennsylvania…just like Dr. Oz,” the billboard reads.

Oz’s response – or lack thereof – set off alarm bells within the Republican Party.

A Fox Poll published in late July revealed that Fetterman led Oz by 11 points – 47% to 36%. The poll also found that Oz supporters were significantly less enthusiastic than Fetterman supporters, with 68% of Democrat supporters saying they did so enthusiastically, compared to 35% of Oz supporters.

The Oz campaign targeted Fetterman’s recent time away from public campaigning.

In a video published in JulyOz notes that “Fetterman is back on the campaign trail” as he laces up his shoes to go for a run.

“I prayed for him. I’m glad he’s okay. … Now that he’s back, John Fetterman can’t keep hiding from voters forever,” Oz said as he ran. “I’m glad Fetterman is healthy so we can worry less about his heart and his hoodie and more about the crazy leftist ideas in his head.”

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