Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman 'taking a hard look' at Senate run in 2022

The high-profile race will help determine future control of the Senate.

January 8, 2021, 6:21 PM

Following a turbulent 2020 election cycle, political hopefuls across the nation's battleground states are mapping out moves ahead of several crucial 2022 contests. With control of the Senate once again hanging in the balance, one high-profile official is already testing the political waters.

In an email to supporters on Friday, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman indicated he is exploring a potential Senate run.

"I wanted you to be one of the first to know that I'm taking a hard look at running to represent Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate," Fetterman wrote.

Although the lieutenant governor expressed confidence in ultimately winning the race if he were to run, he noted that the current callout for support should not be interpreted as an official campaign launch.

"Before we make the call to announce a campaign, I want to get an idea of just how many of you would be with us," he said.

The note to supporters included several markers of a prepared campaign, including a bold graphics logo and a link to an ActBlue fundraising site. Fetterman's name has also been registered as a domain for an exploratory website that features a banner reading, "Pennsylvania will be the most important Senate race in 2022."

PHOTO: Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman delivers an introduction for Governor Tom Wolf during an inaugural ceremony in Harrisburg, Penn., on Jan. 15, 2019.
Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman delivers an introduction for Governor Tom Wolf during an inaugural ceremony in Harrisburg, Penn., on Jan. 15, 2019.
Mark Makela/Getty Images, FILE

"What I know to be True: All work has dignity. All paychecks must too. Union Way of Life is sacred + built this nation. Healthcare is a basic human right. LGBTQIA Rainbow flag deserves Equal Protection Under The Law. Immigration Makes America, America," Fetterman said in a tweet on Friday, indicating an outline of a potential future policy platform.

"You already know exactly where I stand. I haven't had to 'evolve' on key issues, because I've always said what I believe is true and I've stood and worked for the same things for the last 20 years," he added in the email to supporters.

If Fetterman were to run, the self-described progressive Democrat would be competing in an open-seat race to take over for Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who announced in October he would not seek a third term.

As noted on Fetterman's website, the race is already shaping up to be one of 2022's most competitive contests. The receding shadow of 2020 is still likely to loom large with Democrats seeking to retain a majority in the Senate following dual victories in Georgia's runoffs, while Republicans break ground on establishing a post-Trump-era platform.

PHOTO: Senate candidate and Braddock, Pa. Mayor John Fetterman speaks with supporters during his meet and greet campaign stop at the Interstate Drafthouse in Philadelphia, April 3, 2016.
Senate candidate and Braddock, Pa. Mayor John Fetterman speaks with supporters during his meet and greet campaign stop at the Interstate Drafthouse in Philadelphia, April 3, 2016.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Fetterman's potential Senate bid won't be his first in the Keystone State. After serving as the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, he ran for Senate in 2016, but lost the Democratic primary. Two years later, Fetterman defeated incumbent Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack in the 2018 primary, and won the election on a joint ticket with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

Fetterman is now approaching a second run with the benefit of an established national profile due to his .gif-filled social media presence and frequent appearances on news broadcasts throughout the 2020 presidential election. In the last few months of the campaign cycle, the lieutenant governor was a fixture on television screens and Twitter feeds as he criticized President Donald Trump's false election fraud claims, many of which were aimed at Pennsylvania.

On the heels of the election, Fetterman said he went on a tour of Pennsylvania Republican strongholds and found that Trump's supporters were standing their ground in expressing solidarity with the president on his unfounded claims of mass voter fraud costing him a second term.

"I guarantee he will be that president that doesn't fade away," Fetterman said in a November interview with ABC News after correctly predicting his home state would hand Biden the presidency.

"He is going to use his 90 million followers and he is going to continue to lob chaos into the process after Joe Biden takes over because why not, at this point? And I'm not taking any of this seriously as an American -- not as a Democrat -- as an American," he added at the time.

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