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Pennsylvania Senate candidate and state Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is heading back to the campaign trail after health issues sidelined him for more than 90 days.
Fetterman, 52, will host an event Friday night in Erie County, Pennsylvania, where the Democrat is expected to open up about a stroke he suffered in May that threatened his political aspirations as well as his life.
Campaign spokesman Joe Calvello said Fetterman’s return to the campaign trail will start with a few lower-profile events before ramping up his schedule.
“He’ll talk about how blessed he is to be back,” Calvello said. “It’s going to be kind of emotional — kind of raw about what he went through, how grateful he is to be campaigning again.”
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Fetterman’s recovery is also in doubt as he previously refused to take prescribed medication. “He’s following doctor’s orders,” Calvello clarified, saying the Democratic candidate also follows a low-sodium diet and walks three to five miles a day.
“He’ll miss a word here or there when he’s speaking sometimes, or maybe in a crowded room he’ll miss hearing a word,” the spokesman said. “Besides that, he’s rock solid.”
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Back on the campaign trail comes as the Democrat is in one of the most contested senatorial races in the country, against Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz, who has repeatedly called attention to Fetterman’s absence from the campaign.
“Have you seen this person?” Oz asked in a poster shared online last month. “It’s been 90 DAYS since Fetterman’s last public campaign event. Pennsylvanians deserve answers.”
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The Senate’s current 50-50 tie makes every senatorial race important to both parties, but the Pennsylvania contest is especially consequential as it will fill the vacancy left by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
The contest is already the most expensive Senate race in the country and has featured major endorsements, including one from former President Donald Trump, who supports Oz.
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Fetterman’s absence from the campaign has not seriously affected his lead over Oz in most polls, as Fox News and Beacon Research have Fetterman up by 11 points.
Other polling data shows a smaller gap between the candidates, as Blueprint Polling and Suffolk University have Fetterman up 9 points, Fabrizio Ward has Fetterman up 6, and Cygnal has Fetterman up 4.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.