by Andrew Trunsky
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman will launch his bid for his state’s open Senate seat on Monday, becoming the first major candidate to vie for what will likely be one of the most competitive races in the country.
Fetterman previously served as the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a small steel town outside of Pittsburgh, but has found grassroots support across the country. He announced that he raised over $1.1 million in the weeks before his campaign, and his strong support in western Pennsylvania could make him an early frontrunner among the multiple Democrats expected to run for the seat.
Fetterman has long advocated for organized labor, legalized marijuana, LGBTQ rights and a $15 minimum wage, issues that he has often highlighted on his social media and on television, where he often appears in overalls or jeans instead of a suit and tie. His campaign slogan is “every county, every vote,” and kicked off his campaign in a video focused on uniting one of the nation’s largest swing states.
“There’s a lot of great towns in Pennsylvania that … feel like their best days were generations ago,” Fetterman said in his kickoff video. “Nobody deserves to be abandoned. These communities deserve to be helped.”
“For the last 20 years, I’ve been working to help represent, rebuild, and to advance these places,” he added.
Thank you to the 37,000 grassroots donors who stepped up.
Now, it's my turn.
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) February 8, 2021
While Fetterman is a self-described progressive who endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president in 2016, he opposes a ban on fracking and does not wholly embrace the Green New Deal, according to his campaign website.
Fetterman previously ran for the same Senate seat in 2016, though he lost in the Democratic primary. Two years later, however, he successfully toppled Mike Stack, Pennsylvania’s Democratic incumbent Lieutenant Governor, and won the seat in the general election by double digits.
But despite his success two years ago, Fetterman will likely face a crowded primary for the Senate seat, which is being vacated by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. Democratic congressmen Connor Lamb and Brendan Boyle, both from western Pennsylvania, have not yet said whether they will run, while rising progressives like state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta could siphon progressive votes.
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Andrew Trunsky is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Lt Gov. Fetterman” by Governor Tom Wolf CC2.0