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The Battle for PA Begins

John Fetterman, Democratic nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania, aired his first two TV ads of the general election. In an attempt to appeal to Pennsylvania’s blue-collar voters, and in contrast to some of the party’s calls to boycott Fox, Fetterman aired one of his TV ads on the conservative network. Although the Ad buy came in at a humble $250,000 the Fetterman campaign plans to keep the money flowing as attacks from his opponent, Dr. Oz, start coming in.

POLITICO: Fetterman airs first general election ad on Fox

Holly Otterbein; June 7, 2022

Some Democrats think the party should boycott Fox News. Not John Fetterman, though.

The Pennsylvania Senate Democratic nominee is airing one of his first two general election TV ads on the conservative network in an appeal to blue-collar voters.

The commercial, which was shared exclusively with POLITICO, portrays Fetterman as a political outsider who has pushed for policies that benefit the working class.

Braxton White, an Army veteran and local school board member, says in the spot that for years “Washington, D.C. attacked towns like” Braddock — a struggling steel town in southwestern Pennsylvania where Fetterman previously served as mayor — by writing “bad deals that sent away our jobs” and approving “the drugs that kill our kids.”

The ad then draws a contrast in Fetterman, saying that “for 20 years, he’s lived in a place like this, building, pushing, fighting.” It highlights his support for a $15 minimum wage, revitalizing the manufacturing industry, and “good American jobs.”

The 30-second spot, which begins airing Tuesday, will run on Fox News in the Pittsburgh, Scranton and Johnstown media markets. It will also air on broadcast television in Johnstown.

The campaign is launching another minute-long biographical spot that features Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, himself. He filmed the commercial before he suffered a stroke in May.

“People have been trying to label me my entire life,” Fetterman says in the ad, wearing his trademark black hoodie and gym shorts. “I do not look like a typical politician. I don’t even look like a typical person.”

A narrator states that he grew up in York, played football in Reading, and raised his family in Braddock. The anti-D.C. theme is hammered home again, with the spot saying that he is running for Senate “to take on Washington.”

“This is a race for the future of every community across Pennsylvania,” Fetterman says, as he talks about factories closing, prices rising, and small towns being left behind. “Those decisions were made for us, by people that don’t know us. And that’s exactly who we’re running against. Pennsylvania is our home, and it’s worth fighting for.”

Fetterman’s remarks are a not-so-subtle reference to GOP Senate nominee Mehmet Oz, a longtime New Jersey resident who said he moved to Pennsylvania in 2020. Oz has additional ties to the state: He attended the University of Pennsylvania decades ago, and married his wife at City Hall in Philadelphia.

The second ad, also starting Tuesday, is airing on broadcast TV in Pittsburgh and Scranton media markets.

It is a relatively small ad buy:The Fetterman campaign said it is putting $250,000 behind the two spots from Tuesday to June 14. Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello said “we plan to re-up the buy weekly as the GOP attacks keep coming.”

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

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