Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bonnie Biess/Getty John Fetterman, Mehmet Oz
Democrat John Fetterman won the Pennsylvania Senate race against Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz won and turned a Senate seat blue, according to multiple news outlet projections – months after suffering a stroke amid one of the country’s most hotly contested campaigns.
“It is official. I will be the next US Senator from Pennsylvania,” Fetterman tweeted early Wednesday morning. “We counted on the people of Pennsylvania – and they didn’t let us down. And I won’t let you down. Thanks.”
Oz suddenly gained momentum in recent weeks, with some polls naming him the frontrunner in a race that would prove key to determining which political party takes control of the US Senate. Their duel eventually became the nation’s most expensive Senate race.
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But Lt. gov. Fetterman, 53, led Oz, 62, in the early stages of the race and frequently took to social media to call out the former TV personality for gaffes, including a widespread “brute” shopping spree.
In those early days, the bigger theme of the Fetterman-Oz rivalry was that one — the Democrat — was a thorough Pennsylvanian and one — the Republican — was an out-of-touch graft.
Ryan Collerd/AP photo
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But a stroke Fetterman suffered just before the Democratic primary in May made some voters jittery over time.
Fetterman won the primary with ease, and his doctor later determined that he had atrial fibrillation, which caused the stroke, and cardiomyopathy, which resulted in him having to undergo a procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator. Fetterman returned to the campaign trail in August and in an emotional speech said he felt “better than he’s been in years.”
But his stroke stayed in the headlines, especially as the Oz campaign took up the health issue, and at times even mocked it.
Oz and Fetterman took part in a debate that covered a range of issues including abortion, a decision the Republican said should be left to “women, doctors”. [and] local political leaders.” Fetterman, meanwhile, said his campaign “would fight for it Roe v. calf.”
But most of the coverage of the debate depended on Fetterman’s performance after his stroke, which required him to use closed-captioned monitors to show the moderators’ questions and the contestants’ answers.
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Oz announced and commented on his campaign last November The Washington Examiner in which he wrote that he wanted to “help solve the problems and help us heal”.
The decision to launch a political campaign in Pennsylvania raised questions since Oz previously lived in New Jersey and filmed his eponymous daytime talk show. He didn’t start voting in the Pennsylvania elections by absentee ballot until 2021, and his Pennsylvania registration is tied to an address owned by his in-laws, the AP reported.
Still, he garnered the support of the Republican Party after a close primary that ended in a recount, and also garnered high-profile support, including that of former President Donald Trump.
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In his April endorsement, Trump, then 75, said he had “Dr. Known Oz for many years, as have many others, if only through his very successful television show. He’s lived with us through the screen and has always been popular, respected and smart.”
“Harvard-educated, great, great career and they liked him for a long time. It’s like a poll,” Trump told the crowd at a rally in North Carolina. The Washington Post reports. “You know, when you’re 18 on TV, it’s like a poll. That means people like you.”