An Emotional John Fetterman Returns To Campaign Trail With Raucous Rally

by | Aug 12, 2022 | Politics

ERIE, Pa. ― U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman expressed gratitude to his supporters and the resolve to beat Republican rival Mehmet Oz at his first campaign rally after suffering a nearly fatal stroke in May.The Pennsylvania Democrat, clad in a black hooded sweatshirt, rose to the lectern at the Erie convention center accompanied by his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, on Friday evening. The verses of ACDC’s “Back in Black” were barely audible over the roar of the 1,300-person crowd. The campaign said it had anticipated a turnout of about 500.Advertisement“Thank you so much for being here tonight. Thank you so much,” Fetterman declared. “Because really tonight for me, it’s about being grateful.”At times choking up with emotion, Fetterman, who never prepares his speeches, kept his remarks to roughly 10 minutes. The stroke had noticeably slowed his speech. At times he would deliver the first three-quarters of a sentence with confidence and then pause before getting the last few words out.But Fetterman, who looked considerably thinner than he had before his medical event, hit most of the notes that Democrats have come to expect from their congressional candidates. He presented himself as a champion of abortion rights, union rights, a $15 minimum wage and an end to the Senate filibuster rules.AdvertisementPerhaps most important, Fetterman continued the beatdown he has been applying to Oz on social media and in the press for months while recovering. Fetterman, the current lieutenant governor and former mayor of the troubled steel town of Braddock, has painted Oz as an out-of-touch celebrity who moved to Pennsylvania from New Jersey in pursuit of vain political glory.“He doesn’t live here. He’s not about us. He doesn’t care about us,” Fetterman said, the volume rising in his voice.The Fetterman campaign decided to hold his comeback rally in the city of Erie because the county where the city is located is a swing-voting bellwether for the direction of the state as a whole.Former President Donald Trump won Erie County by just over 2 percentage points in 2016. President Joe Biden won it four years later by just 1 point. Fetterman, who staked his primary run on the notion that Democrats needed to compete in every county in the state, pointed to his strong performance in Erie County in the primary ― and Oz’s poor showing in his own intra-party contest ― as evidence that Erie would …

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