With less than a month until the midterm elections, Philadelphia Inquirer‘s editorial board endorsed Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and the Democratic United States The Senate nominee John Fetterman, who is running against GOP challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz, to replacing outgoing GOP Sen. Pat Toomey.
In an op-ed published Sunday, the prominent newspaper editorialized on why the Senate race matters to the state and listed some of the issues Pennsylvanians care about, including protecting abortion rights and restoring the expanded tax credit for children.
“These initiatives and others could potentially stall Congress‘shared upper house. That’s just one of the reasons why it’s critical for Pennsylvania voters to elect John Fetterman to the U.S. Senate in November,” the board wrote.
The newspaper said it also endorsed Rep. Conor Lamb in the May Democratic primary because of his positions that were “broadly consistent with our own,” on issues such as the child tax credit, abortion rights, filibusters and public policy issues.
Why is Fetterman considered a better candidate?
That Asks‘s editorial argued that the lieutenant governor understands the importance of advocating for the state at the federal level, bringing a “down-to-earth appreciation of the challenges Pennsylvanians face” to Washington.
“A seasoned public servant, Fetterman has an abundance of the kinds of values and priorities needed to move the nation forward — and to earn this board’s support. The questioner is endorsing John Fetterman for U.S. Senate,” the board said.
In 2013, the Democratic candidate was criticized for pulling a shotgun on an unarmed black man while serving as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania. At the time, Fetterman mistook the man for a shooting suspect, and the paper’s editorial noted that Fetterman said he understands the effect of racial profiling better now.
In May, the lieutenant governor became had a stroke a few days before the state primary, raising concerns about whether he would be able to continue in the race given his health conditions. However Asks said that “there is no reason why Fetterman cannot serve effectively after his stroke.”
“Fetterman’s continued recovery should not be inherently disqualifying. A few sitting U.S. senators, including Ray Lujan and Chris Van Hollen, have successfully served after suffering strokes. Arlen Specter, the former Philadelphia district attorney and Pennsylvania’s longest-serving U.S. senator , continued to hold office for 18 years after brain surgery in 1993,” the board said.
It added that his health conditions “should not significantly impede him from performing in his role as a senator. Fetterman knows what his values are and is able to communicate them.”
Fetterman’s campaign touted the newspaper’s endorsement in a press release sent to Newsweek on Sunday.
Why Mehmet Oz seems “unprepared”?
Comparing Fetterman to Oz Asks discussed the different values and concerns of both candidates.
“…Mehmet Oz, a man completely unprepared to be Pennsylvania’s US Senator. Oz has refused to commit to opposing a national abortion ban, opposes the expanded child tax credit, would repeal the Affordable Care Act and would vote against red flag gun -control laws,” the Askssaid the board. “These positions are all reversals from views that Oz held as a Republican just a few years ago. If there are any values that Oz holds dear, it’s hard to pin down what they are.”
The board pointed out that Oz “enjoyed himself” with the former president Donald Trump, who is currently under investigation for allegedly mishandling classified documents when he left the White House last year. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing regarding the documents. The former president was also subpoenaed Thursday by the House Select Committee investigating last year’s Capitol riots for his actions on that fateful day.
Oz’s record also lacks “any significant record of public service,” according to the board, which added that the renowned physician has not challenged any of the GOP’s “most troubling priorities.”
What do the polls say?
Despite the criticism leveled at Oz, the Republican nominee may experience a boost over Fetterman as a result of rising gas prices across Pennsylvania, according to Republican strategist Jay Townsend.
The state’s gas price was up to nearly $4 per gallon. gallon this week, while Wednesday’s prices were at $3,930, slightly higher than the national average of $3,922 and higher than last week’s state average of $3,772, according to AAA.
“Plain and simple. Rising gas prices help Republican candidates this year,” Townsend recently told Newsweek.
Still, Fetterman is “favored” over Oz, according to one latest FiveThirtyEight pollgiving the Democrat a 71 out of 100 chance of winning as of Saturday.
Another poll by Suffolk University conducted for USA TODAYwhich was conducted from Sept. 27 to Sept. 30, found that among 500 likely voters, Fetterman led with 46 percent, compared to Oz’s 40 percent.
Newsweek contacted Oz’s campaign for comment.