Politics

Rising Progressive Star John Fetterman Announces Run For U.S. Senate

The hilariously straightforward lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, Democrat John Fetterman, has announced he’s running for Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D) in a new video announces a run for U.S. Senate in the 2022 midterm elections. | Fetterman for PA campaign
Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D) in a new video announces a run for U.S. Senate in the 2022 midterm elections. | Fetterman for PA campaign

The Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, who made a national name for himself in 2020 with his forceful — and often amusing — pushback against Republicans’ baseless claims of voter fraud, has announced he’s running for Senate in 2022. Progressive Democrat John Fetterman, 51, announced Monday that he’s officially joining the race for the seat that will be vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. 

Fetterman previously ran for the Democratic nomination for the same Senate seat in 2016, but lost to candidates with more statewide name recognition — who eventually lost to Toomey. But five years later, he’s built a name for himself with his consistent advocacy for issues like Medicare for All, raising the minimum wage, and cannabis legalization, as well as his work as a statewide leader during a critical election cycle.

Prior to serving as Lt. Gov., Fetterman served as mayor of Braddock from 2005-2019, a small town in western Pennsylvania that features heavily in his debut campaign video:

“The things that I learned, you know, in Braddock, is that every place matters. No place deserves to be written off,” Fetterman says in the video. “These places across Pennsylvania feel left behind, they don’t feel part of the conversation. That’s why Donald Trump went to these small counties and held these big rallies.

Though the self-described democratic socialist disagrees with Trump on just about every policy issue, Fetterman has repeatedly given the former president credit for the crowds he drew in Pennsylvania. Trump won the key swing state over Hillary Clinton in 2016 by about 44,000 votes, while Biden won the state by about 80,000 votes in 2020.

In an interview with NowThis on November 23, after Trump had lost Pennsylvania but continued disputing the legitimate election results, Fetterman said if he could talk to Trump, he would tell him: “You did a great job in Pennsylvania.” Trump “barnstormed the state, he understood this is how you win in Pennsylvania … You energize these small counties and his base. And I was impressed,” he said.

But he also said it was clear that Trump lost, and he garnered a lot of national media coverage for speaking out against the baseless claims of voter fraud being pushed in and against his state — where Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani held his infamous Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference he day media outlets called the race for Biden.

“I can be objective about it,” Fetterman said in the November interview. “I might disagree with somebody politically. I can say yeah, he played Pennsylvania as good as he could play it in the last ten days...but he just came up short. At this point, it’s time to just hang it up.”

In the new campaign video, Fetterman says, “We cannot afford to take any vote for granted, we cannot afford to take any place for granted.”

“Talk is cheap,” he adds, summing up his no-nonsense approach to politics which involves speaking very bluntly and honestly.

Fetterman isn’t just a refreshing voice in Democratic politics; he takes the same approach to governing.

“I am the only Lieutenant Governor in the history of Pennsylvania to REJECT living in a mansion-with a chef and gardener-that YOU pay for, but @giselefetterman opened up its pool to the children of PA,” Fetterman tweeted, referencing his wife Gisele, and linking to a CNN article from June 2019 about the couple opening the pool at their official residence to the public. 

Rare for someone in his position, Fetterman is also openly proud of that time he broke state and federal law — in order to officiate a same-sex marriage in 2013, which was still illegal in the U.S. at the time.

The lieutenant governor faced his own kind of revolt in the Pennsylvania state Senate the day before the deadly U.S. Capitol riot on January 6. State Republican senators voted to remove him from presiding over the session because he was blocking their anti-democratic attempts at control, including their refusal to seat a state Democrat who had legitimately won his election.

The incident set a worrying precedent for small d-democratic politics in statehouses across America, and was soon eclipsed on a larger scale by an insurrection over presidential election results at the Capitol, egged on by Trump himself — and some sitting Republican senators.

Fetterman promises to be “sedition-free” if elected to the U.S. Senate.

A handful of Republicans are also considered as early contenders for the seat, Politico reported.

Watch the full NowThis interview with Fetterman from November here:

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