Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the state's U.S. Senate seat, waves a towel after being introduced by wife Gisele Barreto Fetterman, right, during a rally in Erie, Pa., on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Election 2022 Senate Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the state's U.S. Senate seat, waves a towel after being introduced by wife Gisele Barreto Fetterman, right, during a rally in Erie, Pa., on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Pennsylvania’s Democratic US Senate candidate acknowledged he was lucky to be alive as he officially returned to the campaign trail in Erie on Friday, more than 90 days after he suffered a stroke that threatened his life and political prospects.

ERIE — Fetterman was in peak John Fetterman form in his return to the campaign trail Friday. 

He rocked a hoodie and jeans. He walked onstage to AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” He waved a Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towel. He posed for selfies. He expressed profound gratitude and love for his wife, Gisele. 

Pennsylvania’s Democratic US Senate candidate acknowledged he was lucky to be alive as he officially returned to the campaign trail, more than 90 days after he suffered a stroke that threatened his life and political prospects in one of the nation’s premier Senate contests.

Fetterman spoke for nearly 11 minutes, haltingly at times, as he addressed several hundred voters packed inside a convention center on the shores of Lake Erie. It was the 52-year-old lieutenant governor’s only scheduled public rally this month as he gradually ramps up his public schedule.

“Tonight for me, it’s about being grateful — just grateful,” said Fetterman, who stood for the duration of his remarks. “Three months ago my life could have ended. It’s the truth.”

He said he may not have survived his stroke if he was in rural Elk County instead of being just 20 minutes away from a major stroke facility.

“Gisele saved my life,” he said.

Fetterman’s Republican opponent, celebrity surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, has railed against Fetterman’s prolonged public absence throughout the summer.

The Donald Trump-endorsed Oz posted a fake “Have You Seen This Person?” poster online last month. He needled Fetterman again Friday in an interview with Newsmax.

“We’re doing very well, campaigning all over the Commonwealth, which is a far cry from my opponent, who refuses to leave his home,” Oz charged.

In front of the crowd in Erie, Fetterman called out Oz as an opportunistic carpetbagger. 

“He’s a New Jersey resident. He doesn’t live here. He’s not about us. He doesn’t care about us,” Fetterman said.

He concluded his remarks the way he opened them — with gratitude.

“Three months ago, I may not have made it. But now, I’m standing right here in Erie,” he said as the crowd erupted.

Keystone associate editor Patrick Berkery contributed to this report.