HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s official: Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman announced that he’s a candidate for the U.S. Senate. It’s an open seat in 2022. Fetterman is popular with progressives, but is he too left for Pennsylvania?
“I’m just a guy that wears shorts in the winter that happens to be Lt. Governor,” Fetterman said.
He launched his campaign and introductory video on Monday morning.
“I came to Braddock 20 years ago because I wanted to work and rally against the inequity raging in this country,” Fetterman said in his campaign video.
But to the left, Fetterman needs little introduction. He’s been a darling of national networks and cable channels and may get more exposure than any Lt. Governor in the country.
He wants a $15 minimum wage, criminal justice reform, universal healthcare and legalized marijuana.
“I don’t see that as progressive when South Dakota voted for it. If you’re to the right of South Dakota on any issue I think it’s time to re-look at it,” Fetterman said.
He has a popular appeal and hopes to reclaim working class Democrats poached by former President Donald Trump.
“The folks I know and have spoken to, they really like John Fetterman regardless of what letter is after his name,” said Danielle Gross, an analyst for abc27’s “This Week in Pennsylvania.”
But there is also dislike.
Fetterman has repeatedly frustrated Republicans in the state Senate for what they insist is partisan presiding over the chamber.
“He does not come across as a happy warrior. He comes across as aggrieved and upset and, quite frankly, odd. So I think that’s a harder sell to voters,” said Chris Nicholas, an analyst for “This Week in Pennsylvania.”
Gross says Fetterman has nothing to hide.
“What you see is what you get with John Fetterman, and he’s not going to pull any punches,” Gross said.
But he may have to throw some. Competition is likely coming from Democrats worried that Pa. isn’t ready to send a 6-foot-8, heavily tattooed, shirt-and-tie averse, left-leaning candidate to Washington.
“These aren’t progressive ideas. These are fundamental truths I would want for any Pennsylvanian,” Fetterman said.
When abc28 News asked Fetterman if he announced now to scare away potential Democratic challenges, he said no, and that he welcomes anyone to the race.
Fetterman also said that primaries are a competition of ideas.