Fetterman wins Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated three other candidates in the May 17, 2022, Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, including U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and Alexandria Khalil. Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R)—who was first elected to the Senate in 2010—did not run for re-election.

Based on unofficial returns, Fetterman received 59% of the vote. Lamb was second with 26%, Kenyatta third with 10%, and Khalil was fourth with 4%.

Fetterman served as the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, from 2005 to 2019 and was elected lieutenant governor in 2018. He finished third in the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania for the U.S. Senate in 2016. Fetterman’s top campaign priorities were adopting a single-payer healthcare system, legalizing marijuana, and supporting LGBTQIA+ rights. His campaign website describes him as “a different kind of Democrat,” saying, “John doesn’t look like a typical politician, and more importantly, he doesn’t act like one.” Marc Levy of the Associated Press described Fetterman as “irreverent, blunt and, well, something to see. At 6 feet 8, he is tattooed and goateed, his head is clean shaven, and he is most often seen wearing shorts — even in winter — and casual work shirts.”

Lamb worked as an assistant U.S. attorney and was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives after defeating Rick Saccone (R), 49.9% to 49.5%, in a March 2018 special election. He was re-elected to the U.S. House later in 2018 and in 2020.

Fetterman had endorsements from affiliates of the United Steelworkers and the United Food and Commercial Workers unions, the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws PAC. Lamb received endorsements from The Philadelphia Democratic Party, local chapters of the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D).

According to campaign finance reports through April 27, Fetterman raised $16.0 million and spent $14.2 million on the race. Lamb raised $6.1 million and spent $4.8 million.

Fetterman will face the winner of the Republican primary in the Nov. 8 general election. Pennsylvania is one of two states holding a U.S. Senate election in 2022 with a Republican incumbent that President Joe Biden (D) carried in the 2020 presidential election. Biden defeated former President Donald Trump (R) in the state, 50% to 49%. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump carried Pennsylvania with 48.2% of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 47.5%. 

Pennsylvania is also one of six states with one Democratic and one Republican U.S Senator as of the 2022 U.S. Senate elections. Christopher Wilson of Yahoo News wrote that the race for Toomey’s seat “might be the Democratic Party’s best chance to gain a Senate seat in the fall.”

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