In some of the final weeks before Election Day, the campaign for Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman has announced a fundraising haul of over $1 million since around the airing of an NBC interview with the candidate.
NBC reporter Dasha Burns faced criticism for comments she made regarding Fetterman’s understanding of “small talk” before the interview. Fetterman suffered a stroke this year, and for the interview itself, he used a captioning device that displayed questions. Indications don’t point towards a comprehension issue; rather, it’s apparently an auditory processing issue evidently common to those in early recovery from a stroke. Other reporters who recently spoke with Fetterman attested in their own remarks that the candidate was adept at answering questions. “As someone who has recently interviewed him: Fetterman’s comprehension is not at all impaired,” Rebecca Traister with New York Magazine said. “He understands everything, it’s just that he reads it (which requires extra acuity, I’d argue) and responds in real time. It’s a hearing/auditory processing challenge.”
“Every week since he reemerged, Fetterman’s public engagement has increased, and nothing about his increasingly frequent rallies and media interactions appears to be at odds with what doctors suggest would be normal for a 53-year-old four months out from a serious stroke and expected to make a recovery,” Traister wrote in the publication. Republican interests predictably seized on Burns’s comments about Fetterman, who GOP leaders are trying to malign ahead of an election in which polling suggests they could lose by a significant margin. Pennsylvania GOP Senate pick Mehmet Oz, aka Dr. Oz — a multiple mansion-owning, accidentally Hitler’s car-promoting, pseudoscience-peddling dog-killer who until recently lived in another state — hasn’t led in a single public survey since the general election season in Pennsylvania started, per data cataloged by FiveThirtyEight.
Oz is also frequently mocked online, including for trying to seem in touch with the concerns of everyday residents via a video of him complaining about prices for crudités, a vegetable appetizer. In funding, Oz has relied in significant part on money he loaned his own campaign. As of June 30, Fetterman seemingly hadn’t reported any money from his own coffers moving to his campaign. Oz, meanwhile, loaned his campaign $14.3 million — which is the majority of all the reported money his campaign accumulated since October of last year. His overall total is $18.9 million. Democratic Senate candidates are significantly out-raising their Republican challengers in several key states. Polling, meanwhile, also shows promising signs for Democrats in Arizona and Georgia, along with the perhaps surprisingly competitive state of Ohio. In polling, the Republican running for re-election as Ohio governor is doing much better than GOP Senate pick J.D. Vance, an antagonistic venture capitalist who hasn’t previously held elected office and has former President Trump’s support.