Pennsylvania Democrats have launched a damage control operation after John Fetterman struggled against Republican TV doctor Mehmet Oz in a recent debate. Mr Fetterman, who is still recovering from a stroke he suffered in May, spoke slowly and even stumbled over his words while he tried to turn the screw against Mr Oz over the issue of abortion.
A senior Pennsylvania Democrat told Reuters: “I don’t know anyone, even the most staunch Fetterman supporters, who think that went well last night.”
The lieutenant governor’s campaign team is now doing quick polls to gauge how they can repair any damage caused by his performance in the debate.
Despite concerns about Mr Fettrman, his campaign spokesman Joe Calvello said: “Our campaign will be putting money behind making sure as many women as possible hear Dr Oz’s radical belief that ‘local political leaders’ should have as much say over a woman’s abortion decisions as women themselves and their doctors.”
Retiring Republican Senator Toomey told CNN on Tuesday night: “It’s sad to see John Fetterman struggling so much.
“He should take more time to allow himself to fully recover.”
Mr Toomey was not the only conservative commentator to suggest Mr Fetterman’s health could be a concern.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson claimed the debate was a “full-blown 30-car Amtrak derailment for Fetterman”.
The New York Post’s John Podhoretz added: “It is an act of personal, political, and ideological malpractice that Fetterman is still contesting for the Senate.”
However, the Keystone State is of significant importance to US President Joe Biden as it could be the Democrats’ best hope of gaining group in an equally split Senate.
The Democrats are currently relying on Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote in the upper chamber.
According to the polling website FiveThirtyEight, Mr Fetterman is forecast to receive 49.7 percent of the popular vote, giving him a 1.5 percent lead over his Republican challenger.
However, the chance of Mr Fetterman winning the key Senate seat has dipped in recent weeks as his lead continues to narrow ahead of polling day on November 8.
Polling experts suggest that part of the reason why the polls have narrowed in key swing states is due to the cost of living crisis.
Issues with inflation, which hit 8.2 percent last month, have even seen FiveThirtyEight put the Senate contest as a “dead heat” and handed the GOP a four-in-five chance of taking the House.
Mr Biden appeared to concede that the midterms had tightened ahead of November 8.
The 46th President said: “It’s been back and forth with them ahead, us ahead, them ahead.”
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