Pennsylvania lieutenant governor and senatorial candidate John Fetterman was in Indiana, Pennsylvania, for a brief rally yesterday. Fetterman is running against Republican surgeon, snake-oil huckster, and carpetbagger Dr. Mehmet Oz. Electing Fetterman will replace a Republican senator with a Democratic one and, one can hope, contribute to an actual Democratic majority in the Senate.
Indiana County definitely leans Republican, but a good crowd turned out for the event, which was held in the lobby of the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Center on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus. The Indiana Gazette described the crowd as consisting of “more than 500 supporters.” I was hardly in a position to count bodies, but the lobby was certainly packed.
The event began with various local Democratic speakers, after which Gisele Barreto Fetterman, wife of the candidate, was called upon to introduce her husband. Gisele Fetterman has played an especially prominent role in the campaign ever since Fetterman suffered a stroke just before the primary election. I was eager to see for myself if the candidate exhibited visible signs of cognitive impairment.
When the candidate took to the podium, he acted more or less like any other candidate, though he certainly didn’t look like a candidate from Central Casting. Fetterman is big, with a bald head and goatee. He wore a black hoodie with sleeves partially rolled up, exposing tattoos on his right forearm consisting of a series of dates. The dates memorialize violent deaths in Braddock, Pennsylvania, during his time of mayor there. From time to time, the tattoo on his right forearm could be seen. It is “15104,” the Zip Code of Braddock. Fetterman spoke of his stroke but showed no sign of its affecting his performance.
Despite his decided workingman appearance, John Fetterman has earned two graduate degrees, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University. He is an AmeriCorps alumnus and was mayor of Braddock before being elected lieutenant governor.
Fetterman’s address excited the crowd, but it contained no surprises. He said he wants to get rid of the filibuster in the Senate, protect reproductive rights, raise the minimum wage, and promote good union jobs. He took a few jabs at opponent Dr. Oz.
After his brief speech, Fetterman shook hands with people in the crowd. His wife did the same and took selfies with people who requested them.
The photos below capture the feel of the event.
|People arrived early for the event and were allowed in shortly after the|
official 5:30 pm start time.
|From my vantage point in front of the stage, this was the view to my right.|
|And this was the view to my left.|