As we stuffed our bellies and spent time with our families, California is still processing 335,000 ballots. Mike and I reflected on our election analyses and what we got right and wrong.
Before the election, Mike and I wondered if John Fetterman in Pennsylvania was going to be the unforced error that cost the Democrats the US Senate.
Before his stroke, Fetterman was leading Oz by double digits.
Fetterman was sidelined for two months. After the stroke, NPR reported that Fetterman “had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted.”
After multiple mishaps and then the disastrous debate, that double-digit lead evaporated.
As the poll numbers closed and the race became a toss-up, many wondered if Fetterman staying in the race would be that unforced error that cost the Democrats the US Senate.
But when the votes were counted, Fetterman was a Senator-elect, and the Red Wave mania turned out to be a Red-Wave illusion.
Fetterman is an unconventional candidate. This Harvard graduate spent a lot of time campaigning at family restaurants, union halls, and in rural Pennsylvania in his basketball shorts and hoodie,
As Fetterman was recuperating from his stroke, some great ads targeted Oz and his ties to New Jersey (Snooki and Little Seven). Those ads were powerful and painted Oz as a carpet-bagging, opportunistic elite who was trying to buy the title of “US Senator.” Oz’s own reference to crudité left people in PA wondering what he was talking bout.
The Oz campaign commented that “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke and wouldn’t be in the position of having to lie about it constantly.” There was a lot of mocking and name-calling.
In the end, it wasn’t even anything Oz could control that may have cost him the election. The Republican candidate for Governor was trounced by over 700,000 votes. That’s a lot of lost votes in the Republican column. And issues like abortion, overcame issues like the economy, inflation, and crime.
The message was clear – time to look ahead and stop looking behind.