In Pennsylvania, Fetterman seeks Black vote, Oz taps rural voters

Politics

FILE – Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks during a campaign event in York, Pa., Oct. 8, 2022. An NBC News correspondent who interviewed Fetterman said Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022 that her reporting should not be seen as commentary on his fitness for office after he suffered a stroke. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)

(NewsNation) — Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman is working to get out the Black vote, tapping former President Barack Obama in a campaign ad.

Fetterman’s opponent Mehmet Oz is looking to the rural red communities former President Donald Trump won the vote from in 2016 and 2020.

Obama hit the airwaves in Philadelphia in a radio ad for Fetterman, a city with a Black population of 40%. “You can count on John Fetterman; make sure he can count on you,” Obama said in the ad.

Historic Black voter turnout helped lead Obama to victory in both elections. Low voter turnout in Philadelphia in 2016 cost Hillary Clinton the election that year.

“It’s vital, the Black vote, sometimes people want to discount it,” said Philadelphia city councilmember Kendra Brooks. “We have the ability to sway votes.”

Philadelphia city council members says issues from abortion, voting rights and public safety are getting more Black voters engaged, and they’re working to ensure they show up.

“We know that Philadelphia is going to be very important in this election. That’s why we’re getting out into our neighborhoods and pushing people to participate,” Philadelphia city councilmember Jamie Gauthier said.

More money is flowing into the race to draw out Black voters, Democratic groups pulling out their wallets, launching a $900,000 digital ad campaign to get Black voters to show up.

Right now, Fetterman holds 53% of the Black vote, compared to 32% for his Republican challenger Oz, according to a Trafalgar Group survey.

Oz is looking to the more rural parts of the state won by former Trump for support. But the big question for voters is: Will a celebrity doctor relate to the struggles of rural voters?

In conservative Franklin County, Oz is resonating.

One voter says Fetterman doesn’t relate to rural Pennsylvania.

“Fetterman has never been present in the rural communities, whereas Oz has been all across Pennsylvania, talking to voters, listening to voters understanding what voters want in rural as well as cities,” said Jay Gray of the Franklin County Republican Committee.

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