President Joe Biden praised Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s win in the Democratic primary Tuesday, telling voters his campaign would be a “big step forward” in a crucial Senate seat that the Democrats hope to flip.
Fetterman won the Democratic Senate nomination after maintaining a wide lead in the polls for months before the contest and experiencing a stroke just days prior to voting. The lieutenant governor clinched the nomination with almost 60% of the vote as of 10 p.m.
JOHN FETTERMAN WINS PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRATIC SENATE NOMINATION IN KEY SWING STATE
“As Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor, John Fetterman understands that working class families in Pennsylvania and across the country have been dealt out far too long,” Biden said in a statement shortly after the race was called. “It’s time to deal them back in, and electing John to the United States Senate would be a big step forward for Pennsylvania’s working people. Democrats are united around John, who is a strong nominee, will run a tough race, and can win in November.”
Fetterman defeated Rep. Conor Lamb, who became a rising star in the Democratic Party after winning a GOP-leaning open seat in a March 2018 special election and then narrowly defeating Republican Sean Parnell in a western Pennsylvania district in 2020. The lieutenant governor has also gained headlines in recent days after suffering a stroke over the weekend and undergoing surgery earlier Tuesday, while primary voting was underway, to implant a pacemaker in his heart.
Democrats and Republicans have been eyeing the race for Pennsylvania's open Senate seat as the two parties seek control of Congress in November. Democrats have control of the Senate due to Vice President Kamala Harris being capable of casting a tiebreaking vote in the 50-50 upper chamber. Biden has expressed hope Democrats can pick up at least two seats in the general election, placing much of his confidence in Fetterman.
Although it’s not yet decided who the GOP nominee will be, Biden issued a warning to voters on Tuesday that supporting the Republican Party in Pennsylvania would be dangerous.
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“These candidates are not your father’s GOP,” he said. “They have fought a malicious, chaotic primary campaign to be the most extreme. And they have shown people their authentic selves — that whoever emerges will be too dangerous, too craven, and too extreme to represent Pennsylvania in the United States Senate.”
The race for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat soon to be vacated by the retiring Sen. Pat Toomey is a toss-up, according to the Cook Political Report. In his effort to flip the seat for Democrats, Fetterman will go on to face the winner of the Republican primary, a tight contest between businessman Dave McCormick, conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, and television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.