July 15 Playbook: Back In The Saddle?

John Fetterman

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1. After Stroke, Fetterman Takes Small Steps in Return to Campaigning

John Fetterman

Ever since his stroke back in May, questions have swirled around John Fetterman and his health.

Would the lieutenant governor be able to recover fully? If so, would he be able to resume campaigning? Would he have the strength and resolve to visit all 67 counties? And, most importantly, what would his prognosis mean going forward?

The Washington Post reports that the 52-year-old Fetterman is taking baby steps in his return and made an appearance in a Zoom video with volunteers on Tuesday evening. It was the first unedited glimpse of the former mayor of Braddock in nearly two months.

“I’m never, I never feel entitled to have support, but the fact that you do, I’m so grateful for that, and you know, from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you and what you’re willing to do to help us flip this seat. Thank you so much,” Fetterman told the volunteers on the call.


  • Fetterman Absence Raises Stakes For Dems in Key Senate Race. “Democrat John Fetterman posted a massive $11 million fundraising haul during the second quarter. He’s on an advertising spree that’s made him a near-constant presence on television in Pennsylvania. And he grabs attention with snarky, irreverent social media posts. The only thing missing from one of the most competitive U.S. Senate races this year is the candidate himself.” (Associated Press)
  • Democratic Mayors Say Fetterman Knows Struggles Better Than Oz. “Several Democratic Pennsylvania mayors – including a few from struggling former industrial cities – argued on Thursday that U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman, a former mayor, grasps the issues they face better than Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz. (PennLive)
  • ‘Snooki’ Is Enlisted in John Fetterman’s Campaign Trolling Dr. Oz. “In his latest such post on Twitter, Mr. Fetterman enlisted Nicole Polizzi, a cast member of the “Jersey Shore” franchise better known as Snooki, and a self-described “hot mess on a reality show,” to chide Dr. Oz for choosing to leave New Jersey “to look for a new job.” (New York Times)
  • GOP Fears Senate Debacle. “Top Republicans, once confident about winning control of the Senate in the midterms, fear they’ll blow it after nominating several deeply flawed candidates in winnable states, according to conversations with GOP strategists, pollsters and other officials. (Axios)


2. Kelly Concludes Internal Investigation Into Johnson Claims

Pennsylvania congressman Mike Kelly (R-Butler) concluded an internal investigation into allegations by Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that a top aide of Kelly was involved in an effort to get false elector paperwork into the hands of former Vice President Mike Pence.

“The timing of our internal investigation began three weeks ago once we learned of Sen. Johnson’s accusations,” said press secretary Matt Knoedler in an email. “To date, our current chief of staff has not found staff members to have had prior knowledge of Mr. (Matt) Stroia’s reported actions. Further, Mr. Kelly is unaware of Mr. Stroia’s reported actions. We have closed the internal review.”

Stroia, who was Kelly’s chief of staff for nine years, left Kelly’s office in June 2021 and now serves as a lobbyist for Pfizer.


  • Few Answers in Mike Kelly’s Probe Into False Electors, Ron Johnson. “U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania on Thursday concluded an internal review into his office’s potential involvement in the false elector scheme with few answers — finding only that staff members did not know about his former chief of staff’s “reported actions.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)


3. Misogynistic Tweets From Austin Davis’ Past Unearthed

Austin Davis

Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor – Austin Davis – is expressing “disappointment and regret” for a series of tweets he sent as a 22-year-old intern for an Allegheny County state representative.

In the tweets from 2011, Davis commiserated with someone who complained his room smelled “like Asian sex,” saying it was “nasty as Hell” and in a reply to a since-deleted post, said some women “need to become better judges of character, and make better choices about who they sleep wit.”

He also tweeted on alcohol consumption – “when ur still drunk in the morning” – and eluding problems with law enforcement – “pulled over twice in one night! But … thank god I skated through both of them.”<

“The truth is, most college-age men in their 20s have a lot of learning to do,” he said. “I certainly did. And I spent a lot of time learning and growing as a person.”


  • Mastriano, Ellis Attack Davis Over 11-Year-Old Tweets. “Attacks in Pennsylvania’s contentious midterm election for governor and lieutenant governor are spilling out onto social media. Austin Davis, the state’s Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, is facing heat over a series of tweets from more than a decade ago, around the time Davis attended college, that appear to make derogatory statements about women and the LGBTQ community. But the criticism is coming from a candidate who has peddled conspiracy theories about elections and Islam, and who has shared content boosting the QAnon movement.” (City & State)


Around The Commonwealth

  • Benninghoff Takes Legislative Map Fight to Supreme Court. “Pennsylvania Republicans aren’t done fighting the new state House map. The map is likely to erode GOP control of the chamber — there are currently 113 Republicans and 90 Democrats — by creating a roughly even number of seats between those two parties. It was also drawn, mapmakers acknowledged, with an eye toward creating districts where voters of color would have greater opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Prominent Republicans Issue Report, Rebutting Trump Election Claims. “A group of conservatives, including prominent lawyers and retired federal judges, issued a 72-page report on Thursday categorically rebutting each of the claims made in court by former President Donald Trump and his supporters over the 2020 election results.” (CNN)
  • Protestors Picket Top PA House Leader’s Office Over Proposed Constitutional Amendment on Abortion. “A handful of protesters mounted the action outside of Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler’s office in Lancaster County. A shipping truck wrapped in LED boards broadcast messages supporting reproductive rights and a QR code for those looking to get involved with the group. ” (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)
  • How Some House Dems Are Trying to Outrun a Potential Red Wave. “The midterms are still four months away — but the ad wars have already begun. Some of the most endangered House Democrats are hoping to inoculate themselves ahead of a potentially brutal November by going up on TV months before the typical end-of-summer ad rush. Nine incumbents in battleground seats were already airing ads by early July, according to a POLITICO analysis — and some plan to keep going straight through to November.” (Politico)
  • Homosexuality Finally Removed From PA Crimes Code. “Homosexuality has officially been removed from the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed House Bill 2125 last week and Governor Tom Wolf signed the amending act into law on Monday.” (WHYY)


2 Responses

  1. GOP is upset about 11-year-old tweets, but not so much about a 10-year-old girl raped and unable to get an abortion.

    1. Extremely interesting that rapist was illegal immigrant but that was NEVER mentioned on any MSM.

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