Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman on Tuesday was projected to win the state’s Democratic Senate primary, overcoming a high-profile challenge from Rep. Conor Lamb in the race to fill retiring Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R) open seat.
The Associated Press called the race at 8:54 p.m. ET. Fetterman, who also bested state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, held a consistent double-digit polling lead for much of the primary.
The three candidates were largely similar in their policies, but Fetterman was viewed more as a progressive candidate in part due to his past support for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), sharp barbs against Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), and his advocacy for a $15 minimum wage and legalized marijuana.
Lamb, a former Marine and prosecutor, is largely seen as a moderate. Democrats have debated for months whether Fetterman’s progressive reputation could make him unappealing to swing voters or if his personal brand portrays him as authentic.
Letterman was the cause for alarm last week after he suffered a stroke on Friday. Democratic operatives don’t believe this to be an issue come November. In a full statement, Fetterman said he did not suffer any cognitive damage and that his campaign “isn’t slowing down one bit” [People].
Fetterman underwent a successful surgery to have a pacemaker installed earlier on Tuesday. “He is resting at the hospital and recovering well,” a campaign spokesperson said Tuesday evening. “John continues to improve every day, and he is still on track for a full recovery” [Inquirer].
Fetterman’s victory marks a key win for progressives who have faced a slate of setbacks against moderate candidates so far this cycle. The lieutenant governor will now run in what Democrats say is one of their best chances to flip a Senate seat this midterm cycle.
“John is a leader with backbone who never stands down from doing the right thing for working Pennsylvanians. While Republicans have spent months viciously exposing the flaws in each of their candidates, John is running to ensure no person, no town, and no neighborhood in the Commonwealth is left behind – and those are the values he’ll bring to representing Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate,” said Sen. Gary Peters (MI), the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee [The Hill].
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: USA TODAY