The Most Important Democrat in America – Pennsylvania’s Josh Shapiro
There are three weeks remaining until the midterm election, Tuesday November 8. After the primaries were completed, CNN published a column listing the ten US Senate seats most likely to flip. It was revised and republished on October 4.
I am willing at this point to make some Senate race projections: Republican Adam Laxalt will unseat Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada. Each of the other Senate seats will be retained by its presently incumbent political party, with the exception of Pennsylvania. Although I think Democrat John Fetterman has an even money chance to defeat Republican Mehmet Oz, I will not project a winner until after their October 25 debate.
If Fetterman defeats Oz, the Senate will remain status quo, with 50 seats held by each party, and the Democrats will control the Upper House by virtue of the power of Vice President Kamala Harris to break the tie. If Oz wins, the Republicans will gain control of the Senate by virtue of a 51-49 edge.
The outcome of the Fetterman-Oz race will largely be determined by the vote margin of Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro over Republican Gubernatorial candidate State Senator Doug Mastriano. There is no doubt that Shapiro will win. The dependence of the Democratic Party on Josh Shapiro to retain control of the US Senate makes him the most important Democrat in America.
Most of the publicity about the race focuses on Fetterman and his stroke. That is not, however, the major problem Fetterman has. In his forthcoming debate with Oz on October 25, he actually benefits from diminished expectations. If he gets through the debate without a physical meltdown, the potency of the stroke issue is largely vitiated.
The major problem Fetterman has is on the crime issue. He is perceived as weak on crime. In fact, this is a problem for Democratic candidates throughout the nation.
It is unfortunate and unjust that Democrats have a problem with the crime issue. During this Congressional session, the Democrats enacted a strong four bill package, focusing on grants for police training and recruitment; addressing mental health crises; preventing community violence prevention; and solving gun crimes.
Yet the Democrats have totally failed to sell the package to the electorate.
And this is where Josh Shapiro can become a gift from heaven for John Fetterman. As Attorney General, Shapiro compiled a record of national renown on crime, with landmark achievements in drug and gun interdiction, police recruitment, and police training. He is stronger on the crime issue than virtually every other statewide Democratic candidate in the country. This record is also summarized in this Shapiro campaign commercial:
“If Josh can transfer a significant part of his stellar reputation on crime to John Fetterman, the former Braddock mayor will defeat Mehmet Oz, enabling the Democrats to retain control of the US Senate. The Democratic Party will owe a huge due bill to Josh Shapiro. In the event that Joe Biden does not seek reelection in 2024, Josh Shapiro will become a top tier candidate for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination.”
And the line of vehicles you see in Newark’s Liberty International Airport in January, 2023 are the limousines of New Jersey Democratic fundraisers flying to Harrisburg for Josh Shapiro’s gubernatorial inauguration. They want to get involved in Josh’s presidential fundraising before his presidential train leaves the station!
Alan J. Steinberg served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.
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