(NewsNation) — The tight, widely watched race for the U.S. Senate seat for Pennsylvania has been called by NewsNation/ Decision Desk HQ in favor of John Fetterman.
The race between TV personality Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz and Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has been at the forefront of national conversation for months leading up to the election. The two battled it out for Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat after he decided not to seek reelection.
During the campaign, Fetterman suffered a stroke that nearly took his life. His campaign released a letter from Fetterman’s doctor that said he was recovering well from the stroke and spoke well without “cognitive deficits” while noting that he did have symptoms of “auditory processing disorder.”
However, five months after the stroke, Fetterman struggled to form complete sentences during a debate with Oz, which left Democrats concerned about the future of the race. Fetterman framed his experience as a comeback story in progress during his opening statements. Debate organizers provided Fetterman with a close-captioning system during the debate, an accommodation that both camps signed off on. However, Fetterman said the system malfunctioned and it was the reason his answers were “delayed” and “filled with errors.”
On abortion, a key issue for Pennsylvania voters, the two candidates sharply disagreed during a debate with Fetterman advocating for codifying Roe v. Wade into law and Oz saying the issue should be left up to states to decide. Oz, who has taken a strong pro-life stance on the issue, said he supports abortion exceptions only in the cases of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother. When asked multiple times if he would support a federal 15-week abortion ban proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Oz declined to give a straight answer.
Fetterman’s campaign has held a financial advantage over Oz, with campaign finance records showing Fetterman raised $47.9 million and spent $43.7 million by the end of September, compared to Oz’s $34.8 million raised and $32.3 million spent. In the final months and weeks before election day, polling showed Oz closing the gap with Fetterman, leaving just a couple of points between them.
The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. Senate. Of the 100 Senate seats, 35 will see elections during the midterms, including one special election. Democrats have an effective majority in the chamber, with a 50-50 split and Vice President Kamal Harris acting as the tie-breaking vote. Democrats hold 14 seats and Republicans hold 21 seats up for election in the 2022 midterms.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.