After weeks of intense questions over his declining health, particularly from his Republican opponent Mehmet Oz, Democratic Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman is now ramping up his public appearances in an attempt to prove he’s still medically fit to hold office. Fetterman held a rally in Scranton over the weekend and is scheduled to attend another event in Philadelphia this weekend. The campaign claimed that 3,000 people attended a campaign event with Fetterman and Planned Parenthood earlier this month in Philadelphia, on the same day as the Philadelphia Eagles’ home opener.
The shift in tone and pacing for the Fetterman campaign comes as Oz and Republicans have attempted to depict the lieutenant governor as frail and missing from the campaign trail following a life-threatening stroke in May.
The press has also scrutinized the lieutenant governor, with both The Washington Post and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette opining that he should pledge to debate Oz for the sake of transparency. The Fetterman campaign, on the other hand, has continued to maintain that debating Oz was never out of the question, claiming that the only issue was that of coping with the remaining consequences of Fetterman’s stroke, especially those linked to his auditory processing.
After weeks of pressure from the Oz campaign, Fetterman finally agreed to a televised debate in Harrisburg on October 25. However, the arguments between the Fetterman and Oz campaigns’ didn’t not stop after Fetterman finally agreed to to the debate.
The Oz campaign issued a statement shortly after Fetterman announced his plan to attend the debate, demanding that the Fetterman campaign agree to three conditions: that the moderator explain that Fetterman is using a closed-captioning system, that the questions in practice sessions do not actually resemble the questions in the live debate, and that the debate be extended from 60 minutes to 90 minutes in length.
Following that, the Fetterman campaign issued a statement accusing Oz of “trying to shift the goalposts, because this is his only play.”
In addition to the Oz campaign’s focus on Fetterman’s medical frailty it also has begun to finally zero on key issues that polling indicates are Demcrat weak spots. For instance, Oz has recently begun focusing in on rising crime in the state. Oz’s campaign hosted a “Safer Streets Population Discussion” in Philadelphia on Monday, where he discussed his plans to work for the state’s Black community. It is expected that Oz will continue hammering away at what his campaign perceives to be Fettermans’ weak points in the run-up to the November elections.