Fetterman’s heart issues add wildcard to key Pennsylvania Senate race

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In a fight between an ordinary man similar to Paul Bunyan and a famous doctor, the doctor could become the responsible candidate. And Dr. Oz will know how to sell it, said Samantha Majic, a political scientist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who studies style and celebrity in politics.

“Celebrity in the modern sense is someone who is well known, highly produced, managed and in the media, but they are also marketed, they use their fame to sell,” Prof Majic said. She added, “As campaigns get more expensive, you need celebrity capital to turn into financial capital. You have to stand out. »

Among Democrats and many independents in Pennsylvania, Mr. Fetterman is popular. A Franklin & Marshall College poll just before the primary — and before his stroke — found 67% of Democratic voters viewed him favorably, well above the 46% who felt warmly toward his main opponent, Rep. Conor Lamb.

Berwood A. Yost, director of the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall, said that given the Democratic nominee’s 52-year age, his health issues “could make Fetterman even more accessible.” You’re turning fifty as a working-class person, and you’ve got scars to show, don’t you? ” he said. “It is an additional contrast between the two candidates. I mean, the contrast couldn’t be starker.

And a return after a health setback is not uncommon. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent whose progressive politics is similar to that of Mr. Fetterman, suffered a heart attack in late 2019, as presidential primary season approached, and barely skipped a beat.

But Mr. Fetterman will remain off the campaign trail for some time.

“Doctors told me I needed to keep resting, eating healthy, exercising, and focusing on my recovery, and that’s exactly what I’m doing,” he said. in his press release. He added: “It’s frustrating – especially since it’s my fault – but please be patient, I need a bit more time. I’m not 100 per cent back yet, but I I get closer every day.

Rebecca Katz, a strategist for Mr. Fetterman, strongly denied that the campaign hid his condition. Campaign officials announced he needed a pacemaker as soon as they learned, and the campaign released Friday’s statement as soon as the doctor gave permission, she said. . Democratic officials had become so worried that there were talks of bringing in a new candidate, gossip which she harshly rebuffed.

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