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Inside the Bizarre Inter-Party Dynamics of the Top PA Campaigns


At a Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh this month, Pennsylvania’s Democratic presidential nominee Josh Shapiro, weaved his way through the crowd, approaching Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman with a open palm.

The two began a kind of handshake between teammates in the dressing room, with a slap on the back to finish. Fetterman pointed both of his index fingers skyward at Shapiro, shouting, “Our next Governor!”

Shapiro, his voice echoing through the crowd, pointed to Fetterman, exclaiming, “The 51st vote!”

The friendly interaction as the two leading Pennsylvania Democratic candidates is the result of a years-long working relationship between Shapiro and Fetterman, who served together in Governor Tom Wolf’s administration. and there is a long string of online exchanges. They shared pictures of the their families together at events — and spent time move together long before their current bid for office is higher. Shapiro, who seems to be joking, used to Is called Fetterman his “younger brother”.

But now, with a larger election underway, the expression of political solidarity is more at stake, and the perception of unity is especially valuable. When they portrayed the Democrats at the top of the Pennsylvania ticket as solidarity – the Republican ticket had more interactive energy with the shotgun.

The two Democrats are different types of politicians: Shapiro is sleeker and more traditional, Fetterman is more of a people atmosphere. They come from opposite ends of the state, with Fetterman building his political career in the western Braddock district and the burgeoning Shapiro in suburban Philadelphia. Fetterman was ostensibly more progressive, while Shapiro took a more moderate, pragmatic approach to his campaign.

But instead of their two different political personalities clashing, Shapiro and Fetterman appear to be strategizing to complement each other statewide. Former Pennsylvania Democratic Party chairman TJ Rooney described it as “the joy and enthusiasm of the Democratic Party coming together for a common goal.”

“It’s great that they’re playing to each other’s strengths,” said Rooney, noting that Fetterman and Shapiro “were not cut from the same fabric,” said Rooney.

In a swing state like Pennsylvania – where Republicans are desperate to regain control of the governor’s mansion and keep the Senate seat – the ability to win on the margins of both parties is essential for success. their merit. With two candidates with different appeals, strategists like Rooney argue that Democrats have a broader network to garner support from voters.

Shapiro and Fetterman’s dynamism is complimented by Democratic Party forces moving in the right direction. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), made it difficult for both Shapiro and Fetterman – to fuel the now-branded social media exchanges with Fetterman, who is believed to be an immediate Senate candidate. line in this cycle.

In one image tweeted by Fetterman from the trailhead in August, he and Casey stood with two women dressed in inflatable broccoli — a viral video of Oz calling a plate of vegetables “gross.”

And in one TikTokCasey laid out his vision of a Fetterman victory, waved his hand across a giant map of Pennsylvania and forecast the Senate hopes to get votes in the most rural areas of Keystone State.

Even the most prominent Fetterman main challengers, including Representative Conor Lamb, State Senators Malcolm Kenyatta and Val Arkoosh, will be on the field. At an event earlier this month, Lamb, Kenyatta, Fetterman and Arkoosh stood together in a image Kenyatta later captioned “Democrats are the ALLIANCE.”

During a press call last week in support of Shapiro, Kenyatta told The Daily Beast it was an easy decision for Democrats to band together this cycle. “It’s not a big debate on our part whether he should lead our party or he should lead this ticket.”

Shapiro, who currently serves as the state’s attorney general, is the only primary candidate for the Democratic nomination.

Fetterman and Shapiro’s budding professional relationship, coupled with their unifying support from the state’s top Democrats, came to the Republicans, who seemed unlikely to be tactful. same.

TV doctor Mehmet Oz and far-right candidate Doug Mastriano formed an uneasy marriage. Both confirmed by former President Donald Trump, they both secured primaries while capitalizing on MAGA Pennsylvania’s loyalty vote

But that’s where their right-wing friendship seems to end.

The only public event of the top Republicans together so far was when Trump visited Pennsylvania this month, inviting Oz and Mastriano to share the stage as keynote speakers — and while they spoke. talking to each other, they did not appear on stage together on Camera. Neither Oz nor the Mastriano campaign responded to a request for comment on whether Oz and Mastriano are spending more time together in person during this cycle, their future plans, or how they keep in touch. than.

The two exchanged at least one congratulatory text on the first night, according to AP.

Their apparent unfriendliness stems from that main cycle. At the time, Mastriano was a staunch supporter of Kathy Barnette, a far-right commentator that Democrats are sophisticatedly backing, believing she would be the easiest to defeat among the candidates. The main candidate of the GOP Senate. But in preparing for Barnette, Mastriano actively defeated Oz using many of the same arguments that Democrats are using today.

“Who does he know, you know, Oprah Winfrey? You know, Hollywood class. We have tapes of him, you know, approving abortion, all of a sudden, he’s now pro-life for his own Republican party, we have videos of him, encouraging , you know, changing your gender and all that stuff,” Mastriano said in an interview on The Bombeck Show in March.

“And so I just, you know, something was wrong. And he didn’t even live in Pennsylvania when he entered this race,” he added.

Since then, the duo has done nothing to quell questions about their relationship—and outside players haven’t helped frame the Republican Party as a unified ticket.

Mastriano’s most popular campaign assistant, Jenna Ellis, this month answer for a tweet from Oz saying he would support legislation in the Senate to legislate same-sex marriage, writing curtly, “Oof. Pennsylvania, go out and report to Doug Mastriano. “

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), the outgoing senator from Pennsylvania whom both Oz and Fetterman are running to replace, endorsed and campaigned with Oz but refused to do the same for him. Mastriano. He has repeatedly told reporters that he is focused on the Senate seat and a few House races.

Just this week, according to Politico, the wife of Oz campaign co-chairman Jeff Bartos, who has run for the Senate seat himself, co-hosted a fundraiser for none other than Shapiro, the Democratic candidate. Bartos joined his wife at the event.

And unlike the Democrats, the failed GOP primary candidates didn’t all come out. Barnette, for one, say clearly in June that she has yet to confirm this Oz cycle and that she did not respond to a request for comment on whether that has changed. Seeing primary challengers on the general election trail has been sparse.

In terms of style, the two have significant differences. Oz is a wealthy TV personality who prides himself on intellect and education, while Mastriano is a star among Christian nationalists, a military veteran and unafraid to isolate marginalized groups. marginalized in society. Mastriano has declined interviews with almost every press outlet that approaches him.

Mastriano is also notable for having a history of sharing articles about Islam and anti-Muslims, including one that suggested that Americans should fear Muslims serving in Congress. Oz, if elected, will be the first Muslim to serve in the Senate.

The Oz campaign did not respond to whether Oz had any concerns about past sentiments from Mastriano, nor did the Mastriano campaign respond to whether Mastriano still holds its position on the subject. with Muslims serving in Congress or not.

As Republicans have kept their relationship a secret, at a distance, Democrats are taking notice and making money.

Shapiro’s campaign spokesman Manual Bonder wrote in a statement to The Daily Beast, “Doug Mastriano has spent his entire campaign making it clear that he is too radical for Pennsylvania. Now, he shows that he is even too extreme towards his non-contact mate. “

“Next time Mehmet Oz comes back from New Jersey,” he added, “they should probably meet and clear this up.”





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