John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat in the Keystone State, returned to the campaign trail on Thursday, albeit at private fundraising events.
Fetterman appeared at the Democratic Jewish Outreach for Pennsylvania event to begin the three-event tour. Attendees said the candidate appeared healthy and in good spirits, while acknowledging that he has not yet fully recovered. DJOP leaders said he spoke at their event for nearly half an hour about both policy and campaign strategy, including the recent House vote to protect contraception and the Supreme Court’s ruling last month overturning abortion rights.
Pittsburgh attorney Steve Irwin, a former PA-12 House candidate who has known Fetterman for several years, said the event was the first time he has seen the candidate since his stroke.
“He looked good. He looked physically healthy. His color was good, he wasn’t too thin. He displayed a wide range of emotions. He made people laugh. He was very warm,” Irwin told Jewish Insider. “He really came across not that different from the John that we knew beforehand. But clearly he had a stroke and it was a long day for him.”
“He was very transparent about the fact that he had a stroke two months ago… so kind of bear with him a bit because he’s not 100% and he’s on his way back,” DJOP founder Brett Goldman said. “But he’s super excited to get back out there, and you can see that just in the way that he was interacting with the crowd.”
DJOP chair Jill Zipin said it was “just luck” that the event was one of Fetterman’s first back on the trail, and it had been scheduled shortly after Fetterman won the primary in May. She declined to share how much the event had raised.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) will host another fundraiser for Fetterman in D.C. on Tuesday, which 11 other Democratic senators will attend, including Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Fetterman is not scheduled to attend.
Warren will headline another fundraiser on Thursday for Fetterman in Center City Philadelphia.