Fetterman Wins Democratic Senate Primary In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman campaigns for U.S. Senate at a meet and greet at Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport on May 10, 2022 in Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman easily won the Democratic primary to be U.S. senator for Pennsylvania Tuesday night, an open seat Democrats see as one of their best pickup opportunities. 

The Associated Press called the race just before 9:00 p.m. ET Tuesday evening. With an estimated 26 percent of votes counted, Fetterman had won 55 percent of the vote.

Fetterman led fellow Democrats Rep. Connor Lamb (D-PA) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyetta (D) consistently throughout the primaries, and enjoyed a significant cash advantage fueled by small online donations.  

The six-foot-eight-inch shorts aficionado was formerly mayor of Braddock, a post-industrial borough in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh, before becoming lieutenant governor alongside Gov. Tom Wolf (D). His national profile grew further when he became a face of resistance to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s 2020 win in Pennsylvania. 

His unconventional look and reputation for authenticity helped spur him to a kind of folk-hero stardom, despite some Democrats’ preference for the cleaner-cut Lamb. Fetterman made progressive planks his political calling card early on: criminal justice reform, marijuana legalization, raising the minimum wage. He has the dates of all murders that happened in Braddock while he was mayor tattooed on his right forearm. 

More recently, he has stridently adopted a new pet issue: nuking the filibuster. 

“It’s our democracy or the filibuster,” he tweeted earlier this year. He frequently targets Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) online, juxtaposing himself as a reliable vote for President Joe Biden’s agenda.

Fetterman was hospitalized with a stroke just days before the primary, though he said he didn’t suffer any lasting damage. Fetterman’s campaign added Tuesday that the candidate will undergo a “standard procedure” to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator.

In the later days of the campaign, he’s also been dogged by a 2013 incident when he brought a gun to confront an unarmed Black jogger after hearing what he said he thought was gunfire.

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