In PGH, Fetterman supporters go home without seeing the candidate

By: - November 9, 2022 12:07 am

PITTSBURGH — A crowd gathered at Stage AE on Tuesday night and waited to hear from Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, but left disappointed, as the candidate never took the stage.

The contest between Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz was too close to call as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, with Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s current lieutenant governor, holding a slight lead over the former television talk show host.

Fetterman suffered a stroke in May, and polls leading up to election day showed the former Braddock mayor in a neck-and-neck race with Oz. The Democratic Party sent some of its biggest names to rally support for Fetterman in the race’s closing days. Former President Barack Obama visited Pittsburgh and Philadelphia on Saturday, with President Biden joining them in Philadelphia.

During the campaign, Fetterman repeatedly slammed Oz as being out of touch with Pennsylvania voters, and for his New Jersey residency.

The only other politician to address the crowd of a few hundred people at Fetterman election night headquarters was Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, who took the stage shortly after 9 p.m., and said he was feeling confident that Democrats would carry the night.

“We won’t stop until every vote is counted because we believe in the system,” Gainey said, making a not-so-subtle reference to Republicans’ unfounded claims of election fraud in 2020. “We know that the last election wasn’t rigged and we know this one will be just as safe and secure.”

The Fetterman campaign emailed reporters just before 6 p.m., pointing to a memo from campaign manager Brendan McPhillips that said they didn’t expect final results to be available Tuesday night. “This race is close, and we should all be prepared for a process that takes several days before all eligible votes are properly counted and the results are clear.”

Fetterman supporters started arriving shortly before 8 p.m. and cheered when a large screen TV tuned to CNN displayed very early results showing their candidate with a sizable lead over Oz.

The gathering at Fetterman HQ erupted in cheers when CNN called the governor’s race for Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who beat state Sen. Doug Mastriano. The Associated Press had not called the race for Shapiro as of press time

The Republican had come under criticism for his views on abortion and support of conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election.

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Kim Lyons
Kim Lyons

Kim Lyons is a veteran western Pennsylvania journalist who has covered people and trends in politics and business for local and national publications. Follow her on Threads @social_kimly