Democrat John Fetterman has won Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race over Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz, according to reports.
NBC News called the race for Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, at 12:51 a.m, and ABC News followed suit soon after. Fetterman received 49 percent of the response, while Oz garnered 48 percent, with approximately 88 percent of the vote tabulated as of 1:00 a.m., the New York Times reports.
Fetterman will replace outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), marking a crucial seat pick-up for Democrats. As the Senate was dead-locked heading into the evening, the GOP’s loss of Pennsylvania could be a step toward a Democrat Senate majority.
The results make key-battleground states with vulnerable Democrats, including Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), all the more pivotal. For a majority, the GOP needs to nab two of the seats and hold Wisconsin, where Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is in a close race with challenger Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D), and Utah, where Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) leads independent challenger, Evan McMullin, with 55 percent reporting.
After suffering a stroke in May, Fetterman has dealt with auditory processing issues, and his struggles with speaking have been apparent in public appearances. The Democrat, who held a large advantage in the polls in the late Summer, participated in a lone debate with Oz on October 25, just two weeks before the election.
Mail-in voting had been well underway before the pair’s debate, in which Fetterman relied on a closed captioning system to communicate, and voters received a sincere glimpse into his post-stroke struggles.
If I’m in the United States senate I would immediately support the first campaign to support the elimination of the filibuster to make sure that we codify women’s reproductive freedom in law to make sure that even if the Supreme Court does go down that road and eliminates or revoke Roe v Wade that we already existingly codified that into law and make sure that we can’t go back.
The Democrat also has a radical record when it comes to law and order and criminal justice. As lieutenant governor, Fetterman oversees the state’s Board of Pardons which saw recommendations for commutations for those facing life sentences skyrocket under his watch. He has also said he agrees that Pennsylvania could empty its prisons by one-third and not make anyone less safe.