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Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate candidate, holds first campaign rally since suffering a stroke in May

Written by Javed Iqbal

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Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democratic Senate candidate, will hold his first public meeting next week since suffering a near-fatal stroke four days before the May 17 primary, his campaign announced Friday.

The convention is scheduled for Erie, Pa., one of the state’s swing counties, on Aug. 12. Fetterman has only recently resumed attending in-person fundraising events and has made a few brief public appearances — but nothing on the scale of what is. scheduled for next week.

“Before the 2020 election, I said if I could know one fact about the results, I could tell you who was going to win Pennsylvania. Whoever wins Erie County will win Pennsylvania,” Fetterman said in a statement announcing the convention. “Erie County is Pennsylvania’s premier bell weather county. I’ve visited Erie dozens and dozens of times in the past and I’m honored and proud to return to the campaign trail here.”

Donald Trump won Erie County in 2016, and Joe Biden captured it in 2020.

Fetterman faces well-known physician Mehmet Oz in the November election. Oz has remained active on the campaign trail since winning the Republican primary, although he has faced criticism for reportedly takes trips to Ireland and Palm Beach, Fla.

Despite his absence from the campaign trail, a recent poll showed Fetterman with the advantage. Fetterman had an 11-point lead over Oz, 47 percent to 36 percent, in a Fox News poll released on July 28. Three percent supported independent candidate Everett Stern, and 13 percent supported someone else or were undecided.

IN an interview late last month with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — his first media interview since his stroke — Fetterman said he felt ready to get back on track.

“I might miss a word every now and then in a conversation, or I might talk about two words. Even then, I think it’s rare,” Fetterman said. “So I feel like we’re ready to go, and that are the only problems I have. That is the absolute truth, 100 percent.”

Fetterman’s campaign office announced on May 15, two days before the primary, that he had suffered a stroke “caused by a blood clot from my heart that was in an A-fib rhythm for too long.” Doctors worked to “quickly and completely remove the clot and reverse the stroke, they also got my heart under control,” Fetterman said in the statement released by his campaign. Doctors connected a pacemaker with a defibrillator.

He told the Post-Gazette that he has “no physical limitations,” walks four to five miles every day in 90-degree heat, understands words properly and hasn’t lost any of his memory. He said he works with a speech therapist and sometimes struggles with hearing.

The race to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R) is considered one of the most competitive in the country and will help determine majority control of the Senate.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the GOP’s campaign arm, has mocked Fetterman with a tally of his days off the trail and a photo of him with the words “Have you seen this person?”

It issued another release hours before the Fetterman campaign’s announcement, saying, “Another Fetterman-less Friday.”

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Javed Iqbal

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