Democrat John Fetterman will win the Pennsylvania Senate race, CNN projects, defeating Republican Mehmet Oz, flipping the seat and boosting Democratic hopes of retaining their majority.
Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor since 2019, and Oz, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, squared off in one of the nation’s most contentious and expensive Senate races — all while Fetterman continued his recovery from a pre-primary stroke. often limiting his ability to speak on the trail.
For Democrats trying to retain control of what has become a 50-50 Senate split, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote, Fetterman’s victory could prove decisive.
Oz called Fetterman at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to accept the race, according to Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello.
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s retirement from state President Joe Biden won two years ago, giving Democrats the best chance to win the seat and preserve their narrow majority, and the commonwealth entered Election Day as one of at least nine states that were expected to. Be a competitive Senate race.
Fetterman’s win marks a remarkable climb from his time as mayor of Braddock, a suburb in western Pennsylvania, to the office of lieutenant governor — which he won after unseating a fellow Democrat in the 2018 primary — to the U.S. Senate. A longtime progressive, he has been an outspoken supporter of passing legislation to eliminate the filibuster, raise the minimum wage, legalize marijuana, criminal justice reform and protect same-sex marriage, among other prominent liberal priorities.
His success would also provide inspiration to stroke survivors and other Americans with disabilities, some of whom took heart from his efforts to continue the campaign despite the lingering effects of his May stroke. Fetterman, though he has not released his full medical records, has said he expects to be at or near full strength by the time he takes over early next year.
Although Oz himself has openly campaigned to discredit Fetterman over his stroke-related troubles, his campaign has been less circumspect, with Republicans often shunning comments from his own staff. Asked at one point late in the campaign if he would talk to his own patients the way his campaign addressed Fetterman, Oz answered with one word: “No.”
The White House did not emphasize individual races during election night. But following Fetterman’s projected victory, he sent a subtle, if pointed, message: “The president had a great time with the senator-elect on Saturday,” a White House official told CNN.
While many Democrats in battleground seats tried to avoid Biden’s presence on the campaign trail, Fetterman embraced the president. Biden has made several trips to Pennsylvania and each time in the final months of the race, Fetterman will appear with him, including this past weekend in Philadelphia.
Biden’s Pennsylvania roots are an integral part of his story, his victory in 2020 central to the presidency, and now, after 20 visits to the state in his first two years in office, it marks the first Democratic pickup in a decisive battle. Senate Majority.
This story has been updated with additional developments.