Jul 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Fetterman to attend first in-person fundraiser since suffering stroke

John Fetterman

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pennsylvania's Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, will attend a fundraiser in Philadelphia on Thursday — his first major in-person appearance since suffering a stroke two months ago.

Why it matters: If Fetterman can demonstrate he's well on the road to recovery, it would be welcome news to Democrats who fear his health problems could jeopardize their chances of winning a crucial Senate seat this fall.

  • Fetterman's wife said last month she expected him to be away from the campaign trail until July.
  • Fetterman briefly dialed into a Zoom event for campaign volunteers last week, which the Washington Post described as "the first unedited glimpse" of the nominee since his stroke four days before the May 17 primary.

Driving the news: Thursday's fundraiser will be hosted by Democratic Jewish Outreach Pennsylvania, a person familiar with the matter told Axios.

The Democratic Party's campaign arm and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa) will host another fundraiser for Fetterman in D.C. on Tuesday, which 11 other Democratic senators will attend — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

  • Fetterman himself will not attend, as he continues to limit his travel to within the state.
  • Others who will attend Tuesday's event include Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).
  • Many of these senators, including Casey, Kaine and Peters, have also teamed up with Fetterman to fundraise via email.

What we're watching: Fetterman has ramped up his live conversations with supporters over the last several weeks, including chatting on the phone with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mt.) and Zooming into a virtual fundraiser with J-StreetPAC, the fundraising arm of the liberal pro-Israel group J-Street.

  • "He sounded great," Tester told Axios. "There were no glitches, no anything. He could be out on the campaign trail. He felt better today than he did before the stroke happened."
  • "He's doing really well," Peters said to Axios after joining a Zoom call with Fetterman a few weeks ago. "He just needs a little more time. I'm confident he'll be on the campaign trail and will be doing what he has to do."
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