Democratic candidate John Fetterman faces renewed pressure amid signs the Pennsylvania senatorial race is tightening just over a month before Election Day.
Two new polls this week show Fetterman’s lead over Republican candidate Mehmet Oz is shrinking. This is a development that comes as Oz garners some notable endorsements in the face of heightened scrutiny over his health, Republicans attacking him for his law enforcement track record as lieutenant governor. is.
Fetterman’s supporters say the recent tightening of polls is a natural consequence of the approaching election day, but maintains a lead ahead of the key debate against Oz later this month. The stakes are also high for the Democrats because they are trying to do so.
a Research by Emerson College Polling and The Hill A poll released Friday showed Fetterman leading Oz 45% to 43%, within the poll’s margin of error and down from the Democrats’ 4-point lead in August.
on the other hand, A Fox News poll released Wednesday Forty-five percent of registered Pennsylvania voters said they would vote for Fetterman if there was a Senate election today, compared to 41% for Oz. A Fox News poll in July gave Fetterman an 11-point lead.
“This race has always been tense and a cause for concern, but I can assure you it’s not sudden,” said TJ Rooney, former chairman of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania.
Fetterman’s campaign “will not be held back,” he added.
Pennsylvania has lived up to its reputation as a battleground state in recent years. President Biden said he won the state by less than 2 points in 2020, while former President Trump won the state by less than 1 point in 2016.
And most voters tend to start paying more attention to the election after Labor Day, when the primary is over and the campaign is in general election mode.
Fetterman’s spokesperson for the campaign, Joe Calvero, said, “The last time I checked, I thought we were in Pennsylvania.” ”
Calvello promoted the campaign’s ground games, referring to last weekend’s Fetterman rally in the Lehigh Valley, which drew more than 1,000 people.
“From what we’re seeing on the ground, it feels good heading into this stretch,” Calvello said.
But Oz supporters and Republicans say the narrowing gap isn’t just because election days are approaching in competitive states, it’s a sign Oz is gaining voter support. .
“We came out of a difficult primary and resettlement always takes a little while, but now I think Republicans are united in the Dr. Oz campaign,” said Bernie, an Oz spokesperson. Keller said, “They know the stakes matter in this election, whether it’s ensuring safer streets or a functioning economy for the middle class. increase.”
Other Republicans argue that the poll tightening has more to do with Fetterman himself.
“Oz is not Fetterman,” said Keith Norton, a Republican strategist who has worked on the Pennsylvania campaign. “[Fetterman] He’s a bad candidate, and he’s the candidate the Republicans wanted to go against. ”
The Cook Political Report changed its rating for the Pennsylvania Senate race to “Skinny Democrat” in August.
But in addition to the tightening of the polls, Oz has since gained some notable support, including former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (Republican) on Thursday.
A former Republican governor endorsing a Republican Senate candidate may seem unusual on the surface, but Ridge is definitely a different kind of prominent Republican than other Republicans who endorsed Oz. The former governor broke with the Republican Party in 2020 and endorsed President Biden over then-President Trump.
This week, Oz’s allies are pitching his endorsement from the Pennsylvania Police Association.
Oz’s supporters, much like Trump’s recent support, show that the celebrity doctor-turned-politician is forming a Republican coalition, with some Democrats calling Oz too extreme or a Trumpian. rejects the strategy of
Rooney also noted the importance of Ridge’s support for Oz, and said the former governor still plays an important role in Pennsylvania politics.
“The idea that respected establishment Republicans are supporting Oz shows beyond doubt,” he said.
There’s also the argument that federal Senate elections are a higher priority as Republicans are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the prospects for governors.
The same Emerson University Poll-The Hill poll found Shapiro leading Republican candidate Doug Mastriano 51% to 41%. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report changed the district’s rating from “Democrat-leaning” to “probably Democratic-leaning.”
“Everyone has abandoned the gubernatorial candidate, so every Republican has sort of rallied in favor of Oz,” Rooney said.
One Democratic strategist joked that Mastriano set the bar low for the Oz campaign.
You can’t set the bar any lower than “I’m campaigning better than Doug Mastriano, who recently announced a 40-day fast and prayer.” If you told me that the Republican candidates would be endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce and Tom Ridge after the Day of the President, it would make sense that they would all be Republicans.”
As the campaign season enters its final month, the contrast in messaging between Fetterman and Oz couldn’t be greater.
Both candidates grapple with the state of the country’s economy, which many Americans fear is creeping toward a recession, while Fetterman is bashing Oz on the abortion issue, and Oz It focuses on crime.
“This question is very difficult for him to answer, knowing that Pennsylvania will not support it. Given the chance, he would vote to ban abortion nationwide,” Fetterman said. said in a statement Friday.
Oz’s campaign states that he is “pro-life” but supports exceptions for rape, incest, and protecting his mother’s life.
Meanwhile, Oz’s campaign has attempted to portray Fetterman as vulnerable to crime, noting his track record on the issue as mayor and lieutenant governor of Braddock, Pennsylvania.
“Everyone is excited for the debate on the 25th. [on crime]said one Republican national operative.
Fetterman’s campaign rolled out an ad earlier this week featuring the Sheriff of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, promoting his record.
Ultimately, however, both Republicans and Democrats agree that the economy will likely be the deciding factor.
“Ultimately, it will be the economics that will decide the close election,” Rooney said.
https://www.wtaj.com/your-local-election-hq/pressure-mounts-on-fetterman-as-pennsylvania-senate-race-tightens/ Fetterman under pressure as Pennsylvania senatorial race heats up | WTAJ