Election Day: John Fetterman defeats Mehmet Oz, flips Senate seat for Democrats

The seat was vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey.

ByTeddy Grant via ABCNews logo
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

Democrat John Fetterman has won Pennsylvania's pivotal race for U.S. Senate.

PHILADELPHIA -- Pennsylvania's Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has won the state's marquee Senate race, handing Democrats a major flip in their bid to keep control of the 50-50 upper chamber.

Fetterman ran against Dr. Mehmet Oz, the GOP nominee and celebrity surgeon. The two sought to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

Oz called Fetterman Wednesday morning to concede, the Republican candidate confirmed in a statement.

Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello told ABC News the call happened around 9:30 a.m. He said Oz "was nothing but class" and wished Fetterman "all the best."

On social media, Fetterman said: "It's official. I will be the next U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. We bet on the people of Pennsylvania - and you didn't let us down. And I won't let you down. Thank you."

Oz released the following statement Wednesday morning:

"This morning I called John Fetterman and congratulated him. I wish him and his family all the best, both personally and as our next United States Senator. Campaigning throughout our great Commonwealth was the honor of a lifetime, and I will cherish the memories and the people I met. Pennsylvanians showed up with passion and a vision for a bright future that I found inspiring every day. I want to thank my supporters, so many of whom worked tirelessly to spread our message and support me and my family.

"We are facing big problems as a country and we need everyone to put down their partisan swords and focus on getting the job done. With bold leadership that brings people together, we can create real change. As a Doctor, I always do my best to help others heal. That's why I ran for Senate. I hope we begin the healing process as a nation soon."

Calvello added that he texted with Oz's campaign manager, Casey Contres, to congratulate each other on well-run campaigns.

Senate Election

Fetterman's victory marks a key step in Democrats' quest to keep the Senate, which is currently evenly divided, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties.

Fetterman easily won the Democratic primary in May over Rep. Conor Lamb despite suffering a stroke just days before. Oz, meanwhile, slogged through a brutal primary battle against a crowded field that included former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick and conservative activist Kathy Barnette, both of whom repeatedly questioned Oz's conservative bona fides.

The lieutenant governor, a hulking figure with a goatee and forearm tattoos, cut a populist and irreverent profile throughout his campaign, describing himself as an ally for the working class and touting on his website that he'd push to "make more s--- in America" and "end immoral price gouging."

Oz, meanwhile, veered sharply to the right during his primary, saying America couldn't "move on" from the 2020 election and likening abortion to murder before moving back toward the middle during the general election, focusing on worries about crime and high inflation under the Democratic federal government.

Fetterman was off the trail for months after the primary as he recovered from his stroke but maintained a relentless social media campaign targeting Oz, highlighting Oz's longtime residence in New Jersey to cast him as a carpetbagger, criticisms which Oz sought to shrug off.

Fetterman also pushed to tie Oz to other Republicans seeking to restrict abortion access, though Oz said he would be a moderate on the issue.

During the final weeks of the campaign, Oz was able to close a significant polling gap with Fetterman, according to FiveThirtyEight. Oz and his allies focused in part on an advertising onslaught casting Fetterman as soft on crime, accusations that Fetterman denied but strategists in both parties conceded was effective.

Still, Oz appeared to struggle to win over some skeptical voters in the GOP's far-right flank, even getting booed at rallies with Trump.

Pennsylvania has found itself at the center of the political map for both parties, with Trump winning the state in 2016 by the narrowest of margins and President Joe Biden then flipping the state back after another hotly contested race in 2020.

Fetterman will join Pennsylvania's senior senator, Democrat Bob Casey, in the upper chamber.

In the governor's race, ABC News projects Democrat Josh Shapiro has defeated Republican Doug Mastriano.

More Pa. Election Results:

Governor Election

House Election