Are prospects for a Republican hold in the Pennsylvania Senate race improving? Salena Zito joined me for today’s podcast, bringing back her Middle of Somewhere granular reporting back to TEMS. Salena has been doing excellent reporting on the state of the race, where polls have tightened of late. Mehmet Oz now routinely finds himself in the margin-of-error range of John Fetterman in polling, who has all sorts of other problems.
Some of them are still related to Fetterman’s health. Salena describes a state legislative session on Monday in which Fetterman really struggled to communicate effectively. Other issues look more organic to Fetterman’s politics and how distant they are from the Pennsylvania mainstream. On that score, the Free Beacon’s Chuck Ross reported today on Fetterman’s new campaign partner, Brand New Congress — a PAC set up by former Bernie Sanders staffers that explicitly backed Defund the Police:
Senate hopeful John Fetterman says he opposes efforts to defund police departments. That could put him at odds with his latest campaign partner, a left-wing political action committee that has called critics of the radical cause “squeamish centrists” and “appeasers.”
Brand New Congress, founded by organizers for Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign, on Tuesday endorsed Fetterman as a “bold, progressive voice” who if elected will bring “transformational change” to the Senate. The organization also announced a joint fundraising initiative with Fetterman that will split contributions between the PAC and Fetterman’s campaign.
Brand New Congress has repeatedly called to defund law enforcement and said it supports progressives who are “unapologetic” in supporting that and other “revolutionary change.” The group has urged lawmakers to sign Rep. Cori Bush’s (D., Mo.) pledge to defund police and has accused former president Barack Obama of “appeasement” for criticizing the movement’s slogan.
Salena also discusses the surprisingly fast adaptation that Oz has made to make himself a much more formidable candidate. Fetterman has tried to make hay from Oz’ wealth and properties outside of Pennsylvania, but Oz has taken to the kind of retail politicking that gains grassroots support. Fetterman simply isn’t capable of keeping up with Oz on the campaign trail, but Salena has. He’s doing much better at the grip-and-grin aspects than he did in the GOP primary. And while Oz may be creeping closer to Fetterman in the polls, Salena thinks Oz’ standing has risen much higher than the polls are showing at the moment.
Also on today’s Ed Morrissey Show podcast:
- I tried to get Salena to talk about the Steelers and Mitch Trubisky, but she didn’t take the bait. She discusses why she’s still not watching the NFL.
- We also talk about Joe Biden’s Versailles problem
- Salena also explains how media outlets are running interference for Fetterman
- Plus, I review the morning’s top stories!