A political committee supporting Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz is out with a new ad geared toward Black voters highlighting a 2013 incident in which Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman pulled a gun on a Black jogger he mistakenly thought committed a crime.
The 30-second ad, which was released by American Leadership Action, cites the incident that took place when Fetterman was mayor of Braddock, Pa. The spot includes clips of a local news interview with the jogger Fetterman confronted, as well as Fetterman himself.
“I believe I did the right thing but I may have broken the law during the course of it,” Fetterman says in a clip from a 2013 interview.
The ad wraps by calling Fetterman “reckless,” “risky” and “wrong for Pennsylvania.”
The $500,000 ad campaign, which was first reported by NBC News, is airing on networks with robust Black viewership including the Oprah Winfrey Network, Black Entertainment Television, ESPN, and NBC. Additionally, NBC reported that the group has also rolled out a 15-second digital ad that will reach Black voters online.
The Hill has reached out to Fetterman’s campaign for comment.
In 2013, Fetterman followed the man in his pickup truck and used a 20-gauge shotgun to hold him in place. The man, Christopher Miyares, was wearing running clothes and headphones and was not found to have a weapon on him when police arrived. Miyares has said that Fetterman pointed the gun at his chest, which Fetterman denies.
Fetterman addressed the incident early on in his Senate campaign, rolling out a video explaining his recollection of it in early 2021.
“There was an episode, over eight years ago, where I was outside with my young son who was four years old at the time, and I heard this crushing burst of gunfire coming from a corridor that was the scene of dozens of shootings,” Fetterman said.
Fetterman said in the video that he could “never forgive myself” if he hadn’t done anything.
“So I made that decision at that point to intervene to stop him from going any further until the first responders could arrive,” Fetterman said. “It’s not something that I would want anybody to live through, but the fact of the matter is there are a lot of communities in America, including Braddock, where it is not uncommon to hear gunshots randomly during the day or at night.”
The ad is the latest attack in the contentious Senate contest. On Wednesday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) launched a mobile billboard around Pittsburgh reminding voters of the raucous GOP Senate primary in Pennsylvania as Oz and former candidate David McCormick reunite for an event.
Recent polling shows Fetterman leading Oz. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report recently moved the race’s rating from a “toss-up” to “lean Democratic.”