Democrats are hopeful that Fetterman will win his race against Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz and contribute to a majority in the evenly divided Senate. Amid criticism over his approach to drug policy, the longtime mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, apparently changed his campaign website.
As recently as last month, the website’s issues page discussed Fetterman’s commitment to Black Lives Matter — although the wording has since been removed. “John served as mayor of a city that’s more than 80% Black, and has championed the idea that Black lives matter since long before it became a hashtag,” an archived version of the website said under a section called “Black Lives Matter.”
Fetterman garnered controversy in 2013 after he responded to what he believed was gunfire by pulling a firearm on an African-American and detaining him until police arrived — an incident that has generated unease among black voters. A statement provided to Fox News by Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello denied the notion that the campaign nixed all references to Black Lives Matter, specifically referencing a “personalized video” where the official nodded to the slogan.
“The one section you seem to be referencing was removed when we updated and greatly expanded our issues page weeks ago,” Calvello told Fox News Digital in a statement. “Voters deserve to know where we stand, and we’re proud that we spell out our platform clearly on our website.”
Following the death of George Floyd in the spring of 2020, many Democratic lawmakers nodded to Black Lives Matter, an entity that has faced accusations of leaders embezzling contributions to its foundation and embraced policies that called for the defunding of police forces.
As Democrats battle to retain control of Congress, officials have since walked back such endorsements — with a call from President Joe Biden to “fund the police” at the most recent State of the Union address provoking a standing ovation from members of his party. Twelve of the major American cities which set new homicide records last year were run by Democrats.
Fetterman, however, has a lengthy history of supporting monitored injection sites and drug decriminalization. “I think it’s important that we as a society get in front of it,” Fetterman said of the drug crisis in a 2018 podcast interview with Aaron Watson. “I think it’s important that we as a society have all the options on the table — including needle exchange, which is only technically legal in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh — and even safe injection sites that are being considered.”
In response to a 2020 tweet from the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner — who is backed by leftist billionaire George Soros — arguing that “harm reduction strategies like overdose prevention sites” have “no negative impact on drug use or crime” while providing a “positive impact on quality of life for residents,” Fetterman commented that “harm reduction, reduces harm.”
Though Fetterman has generally led Oz in the swing state contest, recent surveys have indicated that the celebrity cardiologist is closing the gap. In a poll from CBS News and YouGov, Fetterman was backed by 52% of respondents, while Oz was supported by 47%. Voters, however, indicated a higher level of favorability for the former candidate — 56% of Fetterman supporters said they are backing him “mainly because” they like him, while only 15% of Oz voters said the same of their preferred candidate.
On the other hand, Fetterman suffered a stroke days before his primary election and has since stumbled during speeches at multiple campaign events. Roughly 41% of voters believe Fetterman is not in “good enough health” to serve in the Senate.