Democrats hope these ‘unconventional’ lieutenant governors will help expand Senate majority: report

Democrats hope these ‘unconventional’ lieutenant governors will help expand Senate majority: report

The word “unconventional” has been used a lot to describe the nominees in Pennsylvania’s 2022 U.S. Senate race. With his shaved head and tattoos, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee, looks like he could be the guitarist in a metal band — and the Republican nominee, television host Dr. Mehmet Oz, isn’t a typical politician either.

Between inflation, President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and the bad mood of many voters, Republicans are hoping that the 2022 midterms will bring a major red wave like the red waves of 1994 and 2010. But journalists Marianne Levine and Holly Otterbein, in an article published by Politico on June 13, point to the 52-year-old Fetterman and 35-year-old Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes — the frontrunner in that state’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary — as two “unconventional” nominees who Democratic strategists are hoping will enable them to hold the U.S. Senate in 2022 or even expand their narrow Senate majority. And the two of them are on very friendly terms, according to the Politico reporters.

Fetterman and Oz are competing for the U.S. Senate seat presently held by two-term Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who isn’t seeking reelection — while Barnes is hoping to go up against far-right Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin.

“Barnes reached out to Fetterman to get his advice before either launched their Senate bids and texted the Pennsylvania Democrat when he had a stroke in May,” Levine and Otterbein note. “While Barnes is currently the frontrunner in the Wisconsin Democratic primary, he won’t know until August whether he’ll be his party’s nominee to take on Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Fetterman won Pennsylvania’s Senate primary by 32 points last month.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is bullish on both candidates.

The progressive Massachusetts Democrat told Politico, “Both energize people, particularly young people. Both talk in very real ways about the problems that families face every day. The things that both of them are fighting for are wildly popular.… Roe v. Wade, voting rights, investment in universal child care, tax reform so that billionaires pay a fair share. That’s the progressive agenda, and that’s what America wants to see us do. So, it’s no surprise to me that they’re both doing very well.”

Levine and Otterbein pointed out, however, that Fetterman “has cut a more anti-establishment profile” than Barnes.

Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan told Politico, “They’re very different people. They have some similarities in terms of their issue positions, but.… they’re going to run completely different campaigns, I suspect.”

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