John Fetterman’s latest round of campaign ads takes the standard format of voter testimonials and turns it on its head, with vignettes of Republican voters who say they prefer the blue-eyed Democratic lieutenant governor to his Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz .
“I’ve been a Republican all my life,” Montgomery County’s Vince Tulio says in a posted video on Fetterman’s Twitter account. Tulio says he will vote for Fetterman because the Democrat was born in Pennsylvania and has lived in the state his entire life. “I want to elect someone who has the best interests of everyone in Pennsylvania at heart, not when it’s convenient in an election year.”
In another video spot, Westmoreland County’s Colleen Bixler says she’s “tired of Washington Republicans and Mitch McConnell” and hits on a key message from the Fetterman campaign casting him as an outsider in Washington: “Fetterman doesn’t will not integrate in Washington. That’s the point.”
The “Republicans for Fetterman” ads will run on TV and digital platforms, according to a campaign statement. It’s the latest punch in the increasingly bare-knuckle tussle of a race for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Republican Pat Toomey.
And curiously, “Republicans for Fetterman” isn’t the first ad campaign in the Pennsylvania Senate election cycle to demonstrate support from voters across the aisle. As the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported Tuesday, a political action committee called the Republican Accountability PAC has installed more than two dozen billboards in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Harrisburg expressing support for Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania. One of the billboards, with a picture of a man PG identified as James Carmine, a Fayette County Republican (who ran unsuccessfully against Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy in 2001), reads: “I am a conservative. I own firearms. I vote for Josh Shapiro.
Fetterman maintains a six-point lead over Oz in the latest poll from USA today and the University of Suffolk. On Wednesday, his campaign announced that it had raised more than $1 million since Tuesday, suggesting supporters dismissed criticism from political reporters over Fetterman’s use of captioning during interviews. He suffers from temporary hearing loss following a stroke he suffered in May.
In a statement to Pittsburgh City PaperFetterman says, “One thing that unites Democrats and Republicans here in Pennsylvania is that no one trusts Dr. Oz.”
Oz campaign spokeswoman Brittany Yanick said in a statement emailed to city paper that the Republican candidate “has the support of Republicans, Democrats and independents who want to see safer streets, lower taxes and a stronger economy for the middle class”.
Yanick adds that Fetterman “does not answer questions and dodge the media” and that the Democrat “supports the decriminalization of all drugs, the elimination of life sentences for murderers and the opening of heroin injection sites. in our communities – radical positions that make voters of all backgrounds live to support Doctor Oz.”
Fetterman has expressed support for the decriminalization of marijuana, and the claim of “eliminating life sentences” has been verified as “misrepresented” by the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism organization. And Fetterman did several interviews with national and state news outlets this week alone.
Fetterman campaign spokeswoman Emilia Winter Rowland said in an interview with city paper that the “Republicans for Fetterman” series was inspired by the number of Republicans who approached the campaign offering their support.
“These are people who not only showed up for John, but are some of his most enthusiastic and committed supporters, organically spreading the word and talking to friends and family, people in their church,” Rowland said. “Many of them have contacted our campaign to say ‘how can we help?'”
Rowland pushed back on whether the enthusiasm of Republican supporters would translate into votes for Fetterman in November, saying it was a different scenario than the 2020 presidential election, where the Lincoln Project, a think tank of the GOP, launched a viral anti-Trump. announcements that had little apparent effect on the outcome of this election.
“With John, it’s the contrast between him and Oz,” Rowland says. “John was always the same guy and never strayed from his values and always stood up for what’s right no matter what.”