Democrats, desperate to hold their slim advantage in the Senate, are worried about Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman’s electability after a poor debate performance on Tuesday evening.
Fox News reported that Democrats are “panicking.”
NBC noted that the Democrats are “expressing regret over [Fetterman’s] decision to debate Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz.”
Fetterman assured constituents that the stroke he suffered in May would not impede his ability to carry out his duties as a U.S senator.
However, though Fetterman’s recovery has been remarkable, the effects of the stroke remain apparent and contributed to a debate performance some described as “painful to watch.”
Fox News reported that “some Democrats felt Fetterman hadn’t been transparent about the degree of his speaking difficulties.” Others criticized his campaign for agreeing to the debate.
Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis said: “Anyone on his team who agreed to a debate should be fired, or never work again.”
Kofinis added: “That debate may have tanked his campaign.”
NBC noted: “Fellow Democrats are second-guessing his decision to appear on stage five months after a stroke — and some question whether he should have remained on the ballot at all.”
NBC also noted that “several Democrats” were “shocked” by Fetterman’s performance and difficulties during the debate. A senior Senate Democratic aide described Fetterman’s performance as “startling,” adding, “I really question the judgment that he continued with this race.”
Pittsburgh-based Democratic consultant and grassroots activist Khari Mosley said: “Folks are pretty much freaking out on the Dem side.”
Fetterman’s campaign has been a target of criticism for several months. An anonymous source told NBC:
“Their team has been ignoring what tons of strategists and insiders have been saying for months: We’ve expressed our concerns many, many times about being more transparent.”
Fetterman’s refusal of “multiple requests” from media outlets to release his complete medical records is adding to the furor and speculation.
NBC presented the thoughts of Terry Madonna, a longtime Pennsylvania pollster, as indicative of many Democrats following the debate:
“[T]he fact of the matter is his performance was obviously very questionable, and it’s just dominated the news.” Madonna added that the debate performance was unprecedently “bad.”
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