BRISTOL, Pennsylvania — Along the banks of the Delaware River, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman has gathered about 1,230 supporters just under a month from Election Day.
The frame worked for Fetterman, who began his 12-minute speech with a shot at Republican opponent Mehmet Oz.
“I just realized when we got there that it’s New Jersey over there. The Land of Oz. Fetterman, the current Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, said pointing to the Jersey Shore. “Dr. Oz, he thinks the King of Prussia is European royalty.
Predictably, the contestant received a warm welcome from the crowds that filled Bristol Lions Park, home to the city’s wharf and adjacent to the 17th century. Inn of King George II.
Fetterman broke his opponent’s record of supporting questionable drugs on his TV show.
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“He sold miracle cures that I can’t pronounce,” he proclaimed. “I couldn’t have pronounced them [even] before the stroke. That’s who Dr. Oz is, he has no heart. He’ll say anything for a dollar, he’ll say anything for a vote.
The Democratic candidate then defended his own crime record before switching to Oz Stance on U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C., has proposed a 15-week abortion ban. The loudest ovation, however, came when he invoked the Senate itself.
“Send me to DC and I’ll be that 51st vote,” Fetterman promised. “Send me there to eliminate the filibuster [and] raise the minimum wage.
Fetterman was introduced by his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, who guaranteed that her husband would “fight for you like he fights for his neighbor, like he fights for his family, like he fought for his life.”
Former US Democratic Representative Patrick Murphy, a resident of Bristol, spoke briefly in favor of the Democratic ticket, while firing at a passing boat while honking his horn.
“Nothing says privilege more than a protest on a boat, by the way,” Murphy joked.
Other speakers included Democratic 1st Congressional District hopeful Ashley Ehasz, 6th District State Senate candidate Ann-Marie Mitchell and State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks.
In a statement Saturday, the Oz campaign criticized Fetterman for refusing to answer reporters’ questions after an event in York County.
“John Fetterman has made it clear he’s afraid to answer important questions about his radical and out-of-touch record, or he’s not being transparent about his health,” the Oz spokesperson said, Brittany Yanick, said in the statement. “While Fetterman hides behind his computer screen, Dr. ounces criss-crosses the state, answering questions from the press, listening to voters and answering questions. Pennsylvania voters deserve to hear from both candidates.
Fetterman concluded his rally with a call for supporters “to send [Oz] cross the river back to New Jersey and send me to DC. The success of this endeavor may well depend on how Bucks County, and even the Borough of Bristol, votes.
Fetterman’s success, like that of any Democratic candidate, depends a lot on increase margins in Philadelphia and its suburban counties.
This made Bristol a particularly suitable campaign stop for Fetterman as it is in blue collar Lower Bucks. run alongside Northeast and South Philadelphia and Lower Delaware Countythey include an increasingly Republican working-class area amid a more Democratic-leaning, middle-class region.
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The picturesque setting along the river has previously been used for campaign events. For example, just 48 hours before the 2014 primary, then-candidate Tom Wolf held a much smaller gathering in this same park.
Accompanying and introducing Wolf that day is then-Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, now a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, seeking to succeed the term-limited Wolf, who will step down in January.
The state of the race
Throughout the summer, Fetterman had momentum on his side. Even when the candidate was forced out of campaign after strokeOz controversially failed to take advantage, going on holiday to ireland instead of hitting the stump. As a result, Fetterman’s lead went into double digitswhile Oz was the butt of jokes on social media..
At the end of the race, however, the competition tightened, with the National Republican Party deciding to dub Oz. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., super PAC spent millions of dollars on ads who used Fetterman’s tenure on the State Board of Pardons to brand him soft on crime.
In a few weeks, an advance which has been maintained at 12.0% in the FiveThirtyEight poll average in mid-August, fell to only 5.8% by the end of September.
Fetterman and Oz the two agreed to a debate set for October 25 in Harrisburg. This debate will be televised throughout the Commonwealth.
Capital-Star editor John L. Micek contributed to this story.