The decade's most triggering comedy
Oz — a celebrity cardiologist and Republican nominee — has raised $15.2 million between March 17 and June 30, according to filings with the U.S. Federal Elections Commission. Though Fetterman — the former mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and the commonwealth’s Democratic nominee — has not yet reported his second quarter fundraising to the agency, he has raised $11 million between April and June, his campaign told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Nationwide, other Democratic nominees for the Senate have reported massive second quarter hauls. Rep. Val Demings (D), who is running against incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R) in Florida, has raised over $12.2 million, according to The Hill. Meanwhile, Rep. Tim Ryan (D) of Ohio raised $9.1 million in his campaign against venture capitalist and author JD Vance (R).
Though Fetterman has been largely absent from the campaign trail as a result of a stroke he suffered days before the primary election in May, he still boasts 46% of the vote against Oz’s 37%, according to a USA Today Network and Suffolk University poll released last month. A more recent poll of voters 50 years old and above from AARP shows Oz with 46% and Fetterman with 49%, although 23% of respondents remain “persuadable.”
Other Democrats had been concerned with Fetterman’s condition, according to a report from NBC News. One elected Pennsylvania Democrat told the outlet that there has been “no indication” of a timeline for Fetterman’s return to the campaign trail. “A lot of us Democratic Party types are very nervous about it.”
Yet cardiologist Ramesh Chandra said in a letter that Fetterman is clear to continue the race as long he takes his medication, exercises, and eats healthy. “If he does what I’ve told him, and I do believe that he is taking his recovery and his health very seriously this time, he should be able to campaign and serve in the U.S. Senate without a problem,” Chandra wrote.
While remaining away from the campaign trail, Fetterman has criticized Oz for living in New Jersey ahead of announcing his candidacy in the Pennsylvania elections — including by enlisting “Jersey Shore” reality television star Snooki to record a video beckoning Oz back to the Garden State.
Despite lagging in the polls, Oz is likely benefiting from the low popularity of President Joe Biden, a Democrat with a dismal 33% approval rating in one New York Times poll. Indeed, the USA Today and Suffolk survey showed that Pennsylvanians disapprove of President Biden by a 54% to 39% margin, with more than half of the electorate saying they “want their vote in November to change the direction in which Biden is leading the nation.”
Likewise, 48% of Pennsylvanians said that their standard of living is worse, while 17% said it is better — a significant reversal from 31% reporting better conditions and 17% reporting worse in 2018. The poll was taken when the reported Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate was 8.6% — a metric that was most recently reported at 9.1%.
More Pennsylvanians have a pessimistic outlook on the economy in comparison to the 2018 midterms. The portion of voters characterizing economic conditions as “poor” nearly quadrupled in four years — from 12% to 45%. Only 1% of voters described the economy as “excellent.”