PA’s LT. Governor John Fetterman launches US Senate campaign

The tattooed Democrat, who is 6-foot-8, is running for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey.

“I’m running for the United States Senate for the same reason I ran for lieutenant governor in 2018 and mayor of Braddock 16 years ago, because I believe in a set of core truths,” Fetterman added in a statement accompanying the video.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said Monday that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pat Toomey, who is retiring.

The race to replace Toomey, who announced in October that he was retiring, is expected to be one of the most competitive in the country and will be one of the cornerstones of Democratic efforts to build on their slim majority in the chamber in 2022.

Fetterman, who had been widely expected to run for the seat, has served as the state’s Democratic lieutenant governor since 2019. A Harvard grad, Fetterman was elected in 2005 as the mayor of Braddock, his struggling hometown in Western Pennsylvania, and worked to revitalize it before running for Senate in 2016. He lost the primary to the Democratic Party’s favored candidate, Katie McGinty, who went on to lose the general election.


From Rolling Stone:

Fetterman, 51, doesn’t sound like a typical Democrat, and he doesn’t look like one either. He’s 6-foot-9, bald headed and goateed, tattooed on both arms. He might be the only politician in America who gives TV interviews in Dickies work shirts and Carhartt jackets. During his three-and-a-half terms as the mayor of Braddock, he sought to reignite a once-mighty steel town that was suffering from crippling poverty, violence, and a sky-high abandonment rate, leading to profiles in national magazines (in 2009 Rolling Stone called him the “mayor of hell”) and an appearance on the Colbert Report. (Violent crime declined under his watch but Braddock continues to struggle.) He lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2016 but won the lieutenant governor’s seat in 2018. He refused to move his family into the lieutenant governor’s mansion, urged the state to sell it for the revenue, and opened up the mansion’s pool to the public. (His spokeswoman says the Fettermans call it “the People’s Pool.”)

Like Bernie Sanders, who endorsed him when he ran for lieutenant governor, Fetterman called for universal health care, marijuana legalization, and a much higher minimum wage well before it was popular. Now, as he potentially weighs his next move, Fetterman wants to convince his fellow Democrats that their party’s future depends less on fighting over fracking and more on embracing legal weed and embracing their populist roots. “This idea [of climate change] that every climate scientist in the world agrees [on] — we need to run on that,” he says. “We also can’t tell a bunch of workers, ‘Go work at Duolingo.’ That’s not fair. We still need to be a manufacturing powerhouse, too.” 

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