The U.S. Senate currently sits at a 50-50 split, with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as the tiebreaker vote, so the results from any state could shift the balance of power for the next two years.
After Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election following his current term in the Senate, a wide range of candidates positioned themselves to fill the vacancy. Pennsylvania's competitive primary election has left Republican Mehmet Oz to face Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman on the general election ballot.
John Fetterman (D)
Fetterman has held the position of lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania since 2019. He held the position of mayor of Braddock from 2006 until 2019. As mayor, Fetterman was known for creating youth and community-based programs. While serving as lieutenant governor, he criticized the former president and discredited Trump's claims about voter fraud in Pennsylvania.
Fetterman's platform centers around reforming the criminal justice system to include more rehabilitative options and expanding access to healthcare across the state. He wrote in a statement emailed to the DP in April 2022 that his platform centers around the legalization of marijuana.
"The war on drugs has been racist, costly, and ineffective," Fetterman wrote. "It is not just a failure — it's a national disgrace. We have known for decades that Black and brown communities are disproportionately prosecuted and harmed because of the criminalization around marijuana."
Days before May's primary election, Fetterman suffered from a stroke. In June, medical professionals permitted Fetterman to continue his campaign.
Mehmet Oz (R)
Oz is a former talk show host and an attending physician at N.Y. Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center. In 1986, he earned his medical degree from the Perelman School of Medicine and his MBA in health care management from the Wharton School — making Oz one of the first students to earn a joint M.D.-MBA from Penn.
Oz's main platform points include strengthening domestic energy production, securing the country's borders, and pushing back against "cancel culture" to ensure Americans' right to free speech is protected. He received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump in April 2022.
He also has campaigned on shifting how Americans view education, arguing that schools need to incorporate financial literacy from a young age, and we need to prohibit "wealthy universities from raising tuition every year while sitting on millions of dollars in tax-protected endowments," according to his website.
Additionally, Oz has voiced concerns about Fetterman’s policies for drug decriminalization and police disarmament in Pennsylvania. Oz acknowledges the presence of violent crime and drug abuse in the commonwealth, vowing to fund our police systems and offer support to crime-ridden communities.