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Watch: GOP Fires First Political Salvo at Pennsylvania Dems' Leftist Senate Nominee

Let's start on the Republican side of this race, which remains unresolved -- 11 days after the primary.  Vote counting took forever under the state's creaky system, and the race turned out to be very close. Roughly 900 votes separate Dr. Oz, who narrowly leads, and David McCormick, and a recount is underway.  

Oz has declared himself the "presumptive" winner, which looks fairly likely, but McCormick's campaign just won a court decision that could help him narrow the gap:

A state court agreed Thursday night in a ballot-counting lawsuit with the campaign of David McCormick, who is in a neck-and-neck Republican primary contest for the U.S. Senate against celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz. In the decision, Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer ordered counties to count the ballots in question, although her decision could be reversed, depending on what the U.S. Supreme Court does in the coming days on a separate case. Because of the high court’s involvement, Jubelirer ordered counties to keep the undated ballots separate from other ballots and to count them separately. The ballots in question are roughly 880 mail-in ballots that lack a handwritten date on the envelope.

It's still a steep uphill climb for McCormick, and at some point, the wrangling and drama will need to stop.  With Republicans divided, Keystone State Democrats are on the attack:

The recount of Pennsylvania’s photo-finish Republican Senate primary will not be revealed until June 8, but Democrats aren’t waiting to try to stain both possible winners, Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick. The Democrats’ Senate campaign arm released prototypes of attack ads against both candidates on Thursday, leaning into the theme that Dr. Oz, the celebrity physician, and Mr. McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, are out-of-state carpetbaggers. The ads preview how the general election could unfold in one of the most critical midterm contests for Senate control. The 30-second spots portray Dr. Oz, who held a tiny lead going into the recount and has declared himself the “presumptive” nominee, as “pretending to be from Pennsylvania.’’ Mr. McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, is attacked for having “moved from Connecticut to buy a Senate seat.”

Republicans may still be counting votes and sorting through their issues, but they're also not asleep at the wheel. The state's Lt. Governor, John Fetterman, is a leftist who easily won the Senate primary on the other side of the aisle, crushing the establishment's fake "moderate" choice, Conor Lamb. If you're unfamiliar with Fetterman, this is a pretty solid synopsis of what he's about:

The liberal is 6-foot-8, has a goatee and tattoos, and revels in gym shorts, Carhartt and blue-collar Keystone culture. He has a penchant for trolling Republicans as “simps” and trashing West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s attachment to the filibuster. While Mr. Fetterman grew up in Central Pennsylvania in affluence, he presents himself as the patron saint of the Rust Belt Working Joe. This masks a Fetterman agenda that puts him squarely in the camp of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (whom he’s praised as a “luminary”) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (whom he endorsed for president in 2016). He supports Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports, gun control, climate “justice,” and a “de facto moratorium” on fracking. Perhaps a greater political problem in today’s environment, he’s spoken at defund-the-police rallies and made a priority of releasing felons from prison. Then there’s the 2013 incident in which, as mayor of Braddock, he pulled a gun on an unarmed black jogger.

He wears a hoodie on the trail, and supports abortion-on-demand until birth -- a radical position that's now so normalized within the Democratic Party that the 'centrist' Mr. Lamb also embraced it during his campaign.  Fetterman suffered a stroke in mid-May, and is still resting and recovering.  Some are wondering if his campaign is downplaying the severity of his medical situation.  Doctors are starting to ask questions ("it just doesn't make sense"). A number of Democrats are getting anxious:

There has been “no indication” of a timeline for Fetterman’s return to the trail, said an elected Pennsylvania Democrat who has interacted with Fetterman. “A lot of us Democratic Party types are very nervous about it.” The official, who asked not to be named to avoid blowback from his party, said Fetterman needs to be transparent both because it’s the right thing to do and good politics…“I think people I’ve talked to — myself included — don’t know what to make of it,” said a veteran Pennsylvania Democratic strategist who requested anonymity to speak candidly about a sensitive subject. “It’s not like Fetterman has close institutional allies, so Dems are calling around wanting to ask the question, but no clue where to get a sense of how serious it is.”…[Another Democratic source] added that there is “some real concern,” in part because “there has not been a lot of communication” from Fetterman’s team and it is “unclear what his health is.”

For now, the GOP's line of attack is about Fetterman's Bernie-style ideas, and there's a lot of material to work with:

Senate Republicans’ campaign arm is launching its first televised attack ad Friday against John Fetterman, labeling him a far-left ally of Bernie Sanders. The spot, which was shared exclusively with POLITICO, said the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee “sided with socialists, backed a government takeover of health care” and “embraced parts of the Green New Deal that’d cost you 50,000 bucks a year.” The 30-second ad by the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s independent expenditure also portrays a group of young people approaching a white van emblazoned with a Fetterman logo and pro-Sanders stickers. “Left-wing radicals are rolling into Pennsylvania, pushing John Fetterman,” the narrator said, as the people take protest signs out of the van reading “End Fracking No More Oil,” “AOC is my Queen” and “Republican = Bigot.” The commercial likewise highlights Sanders calling Fetterman an “outstanding progressive,” a line the Vermont senator used while campaigning for Fetterman in his successful 2018 run for lieutenant governor.

And here it is:

"The NRSC said it is putting just under $1.5 million behind the ad from Friday through June 16 on broadcast and cable TV. A 15-second version of the spot will also run digitally," Politico reports. It makes sense to start defining Fetterman as early as possible. Republicans are behind the curve because of their ongoing primary fight, but Fetterman is also sidelined and potentially hiding the true extent of his health problems. This is one of the most important Senate races in the country this cycle. If Republicans manage to hold onto the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, that will make things significantly harder for Chuck Schumer to remain majority leader.


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