“Before the 2020 election, I said if I could get one piece of information about the results, I could tell you who was going to win Pennsylvania. Whoever wins Erie County wins Pennsylvania,” Fetterman said in a statement announcing the rally. “Erie County is the largest benchmark county in Pennsylvania. I have visited Erie dozens and dozens of times in the past, and I am honored and proud to return to the campaign trail here.”
Donald Trump won Erie County in 2016 and Joe Biden captured it in 2020.
Fetterman faces famed physician Mehmet Oz in the November election. Oz has remained active on the campaign trail since he prevailed in the Republican primary, though he has faced criticism for reportedly making trips to Ireland and Palm Beach, Fla.
Despite his absence from the campaign trail, a recent poll showed Fetterman with the lead. Fetterman led Oz by 11 points, 47 percent to 36 percent, in a Fox News poll released July 28. Three percent supported independent candidate Everett Stern and 13 percent supported someone else or were undecided.
In an interview late last month With the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, his first media interview since his stroke, Fetterman said he felt ready to get back on track.
“I might miss a word every now and then in a conversation, or I might slur two. Even then, I think that’s rare,” Fetterman said. “So I feel like we’re ready to race, and those are the only issues I have. That is the absolute truth, 100 percent.”
Fetterman’s campaign office announced on May 15, two days before the primary, that he had suffered a stroke “caused by a clot in my heart that was in an atrial fibrillation rhythm for too long.” Doctors worked to “quickly and completely remove the clot, reversing the stroke, they also got my heart under control,” Fetterman said in the statement released by her campaign. Doctors placed a pacemaker with a defibrillator.
He told the Post-Gazette that he “has no physical limits,” walks four to five miles each day in 90-degree heat, understands words correctly, and hasn’t lost any of his memory. He said that he is working with a speech therapist and sometimes has trouble hearing.
The race to fill the seat held by retired Senator Patrick J. Toomey (R) is considered one of the most competitive in the country and will help determine majority control of the Senate.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of the GOP, has been mocking Fetterman with an account of his days off the track and an image of him with the words “Have you seen this person?”
He sent out another statement hours before the Fetterman campaign announcement, saying, “Another Fetterman-Less Friday.”