(CNN)Can a Bernie Sanders-supporting advocate for legal marijuana and lower prison sentences flip a Republican Senate seat in Pennsylvania and help keep the Senate in Democratic hands?
Conventional wisdom would say no. But John Fetterman, the tattooed, 6-foot 8-inch, cargo-short-wearing lieutenant governor of the Keystone State is anything but conventional.
“We have to flip this seat,” he told a cheering crowd of over a hundred people packed into the Holy Hound Taproom (“Hallowed be thy beer,” the sign says) here in downtown York, where he grew up and where his father’s insurance agency still operates just a few blocks away.
Fetterman is the heavy favorite to win Tuesday’s Democratic primary ahead of US Rep. Conor Lamb. Lamb’s been arguing for months that Fetterman’s record is too liberal for a state that voted for Donald Trump in 2016 before going for Joe Biden in 2020.
“Republicans think they’d crush Socialist Fetterman,” blared an ad from a super PAC supporting Lamb.
Still, the lieutenant governor will face his toughest scrutiny yet if he wins on Tuesday. He’ll have to work harder to energize Black voters, a key part of the Democratic base, after his primary rivals have attacked him for a 2013 incident where he pulled a gun on a person who turned out to be an unarmed black man out jogging.
Republicans are already attacking him on issues like immigration, rising crime and abortion. When asked this week whether he supports any restrictions on abortion, Fetterman said, “I don’t,” even in the third trimester.
“I believe that choice is between a woman, her doctor and a God if she prays to one. As a man and a politician, I don’t have a right to intervene,” he said.
And he defends his record of working to get those wrongfully convicted out of prison and to implement criminal justice reforms.
“Bring it on,” he said. “That would reflect poorly on my character if I would let
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