On Tuesday of last week, Lt. Governor John Fetterman’s Senate campaign announced that it raised a stunning $11 million in the last fundraising quarter. His opponent, TV doctor Mehmet Oz posted $3.8 million over the same period, but more than half of that consisted of loans he made to his own campaign.
Fetterman’s popularity in the state is nothing new, but recently he has become a bit of a national sensation, likely due in large part to what can only be called epic trolling by his social media and communications teams.
Dr. Oz’s credibility issues in Pennsylvania revolve around the simple fact that he is a lifelong resident of New Jersey, and the accusation that his recent move to the Keystone State only happened so he could pursue a Senate seat. The historical term for this is “carpetbagging” and it tends to go over poorly with voters.
The Fetterman campaign has leaned into this accusation, often hilariously, and these well-scripted comedic attacks have propelled Fetterman and his campaign into the national spotlight.
They hired a plane to fly a “Welcome home, Dr. Oz” banner over the beaches in North Jersey. They hired Snooki of Jersey Shore fame to post a message online saying “Jersey loves you.” They even flipped the latest Oz attempt to show Pennsylvanians he’s one of them by calling his cheesesteak photo op “a rite of passage for every tourist.”
The Oz/Fetterman race holds massive national significance, as it could very well determine control of the Senate for the next two years, and as such, attention and money have been flowing in. There have been campaigns with this kind of national significance before, but in a midterm cycle, this kind of fundraising haul is impressive, and it certainly justifies the nine-point lead Fetterman currently holds in the most recent polls.
There’s a long way to go before this race is over. Polls are rarely correct these days, and while fundraising is a good indicator, it does not in any way guarantee victory.
But it is clear at this point in the race that one team is running circles around the other.