PA Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman moves closer to running for Pat Toomey’s empty Senate seat in 2022
The rising national figure filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, Feb. 4.
For 10 years, Republican Pat Toomey has occupied one of Pennsylvania’s two U.S. Senate seats. He's had many Democratic challengers over the years, but bested all of them, the most recent being former Chief of Staff to Governor Tom Wolf, Katie McGinty in 2016.
But after a decade in Congress, Toomey announced on Oct. 5, 2020 that his current term would be his last.
It’s opened the door for a plethora of candidates to potentially run in what will be a hotly-contested election in 2022.
One of the biggest names that’s swirled since Toomey’s announcement has been Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.
Those rumors were all but confirmed a month ago, when Fetterman’s campaign sent an email to supporters and posted a message on its website about a potential run in 2022.
"Pennsylvania will be the most important Senate race in 2022. We think we can win if we go for it. But before we decide to run, we want to know who's with us," read the website message before asking for donations.
Following the announcement, the campaign raised over $1 million in two weeks from more than 36,000 individual donors.
On Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, Fetterman took the first concrete step in running for office by filing a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.
“The point is, we have a consistent record to run on,” Fetterman’s email to supporters read. “Voters in Pennsylvania know me. They know I’ll always say what I believe. That’s why they elected me as their Lieutenant Governor.”
That happened in 2018, when Fetterman beat then-incumbent Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack in the Democratic primary before running alongside Wolf in the general election.
Before that, Fetterman was mayor of the Pittsburgh suburb of Braddock, PA. There, he made national headlines for his efforts to revitalize the run-down steel town, and attracted young professionals from across the country.
Amid the 2020 presidential election, Fetterman’s jabs on social media and national television at former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the election results in some states — especially Pennsylvania — made the Lieutenant Governor a national Democratic figure.
Along with his own rise is Fetterman’s progressive agenda, which includes the legalization of marijuana, a $15 minimum wage, and equal protections for members of the LGBTQ+ community to name a few of his top issues.
In both his actions and words, all have been a part of his platform for the past two decades.
Five years ago, Fetterman ran to challenge Toomey as a Democrat, but came in third out of four candidates in the primary.
Now, in what will likely be a crowded field in 2022 on the Democratic side, Fetterman is a definite frontrunner.