John Fetterman Wins Pennsylvania Democratic State Primary
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has won the Democratic Senate primary election in Pennsylvania, despite Democrats wondering if he was electable or not.
Lt. Gov. Fetterman, a political outsider with little backing from the Democratic Party, was up against Rep. Conor Lamb, a sitting congressmember. Fetterman won the election in a landslide, garnering 59 percent of the vote compared to Lamb’s 26.5 percent. While the two candidates, and a third in state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, had similar policies, Fetterman was seen as the more Progressive of the bunch due to his past support of Bernie Sanders and advocacy for a $15 minimum wage and legalized cannabis.
Fetterman is seen as one of the most pro-cannabis politicians in the nation, supporting legalization while serving as the Mayor of Braddock, Penn. as well as during his unsuccessful 2016 Senate campaign. Fetterman claimed the Lieutenant Governor’s office in 2018 and spent the past four years working for and defending workers’ rights, criminal justice reform, LGBTQIA+ progress and cannabis legalization.
A 2021 Pennsylvania poll found a record 58 percent of adult Pennsylvanians supports the legalization of cannabis in the Commonwealth as opposed to 26 percent who oppose. In September 2021, lawmakers in Pennsylvania introduced legislation that would legalize cannabis in the state and create an adult-use market. Political strategists have mentioned a strong position on cannabis could be a key part of the winning policy portfolio for both the primary and general elections. Cannabis not only brings progressive voters to the polls, but also brings new voters in who support cannabis who may not have voted during the general elections.
“You’re talking about a state that Joe Biden won by only 80,000 votes,” said Mike Mikus, a Democratic strategist in Pennsylvania who isn’t aligned with any candidate in the race. “So any people, new voters or people who … may have decided to sit out the election—if you bring them out because of this issue, that is how you win these campaigns.”
President Joe Biden said in a statement the Democratic Party is united around Fetterman, with the statement coming after Fetterman was projected to be the winner and a chance to flip the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey.
“As Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor, John Fetterman understands that working class families in Pennsylvania and across the country have been dealt out for far too long. It’s time to deal them back in, and electing John to the United States Senate would be a big step forward for Pennsylvania’s working people. Democrats are united around John, who is a strong nominee, will run a tough race, and can win in November,” Biden said.
Fetterman’s win was expected even though he suffered a stroke leading up to the election and was unable to attend the final campaign events. His campaign announced he was fitted with a pacemaker and is expected to make a full recovery, with Fetterman himself saying he will be fine. Just 24 hours after winning the Democratic primary, Fetterman’s campaign raised $1.6 million with donors aiming to ensure Fetterman will be able to campaign in all 67 counties, a key part of his pitch.
“The fact that so many of you entrusted me with your vote means the world to me, and it’s something I’ll never take for granted. I’m feeling better every day, and I’m going to be back on the campaign trail to thank you all in person soon,” Fetterman said in a statement. “”Control of the Senate is going to come down to Pennsylvania, and we have to flip this seat. We have a hard fight ahead of us—but Pennsylvania is worth fighting for.”
Fetterman will face the winner of the Republican Senate primary in the general election. The top contenders include ex-hedge fund manager David McCormick and the Trump-endorsed candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz. The Republican winner and Fetterman will face off in November for the first open Senate seat in Pennsylvania in 12 years.