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Pennsylvania Senate hopeful John Fetterman is set to hold his first campaign rally next week since suffering a stroke in May that nearly killed him.

Fetterman will campaign in competitive Erie County on Aug. 12 and hopes to maintain the lead he has enjoyed in recent polls over Republican rival Dr. Mehmet Oz.

During his nearly two-month absence from the campaign trail, Fetterman has relied on an online campaign against Oz, trolling him over various pressure points such as his wealth and house in New Jersey.


“Before the 2020 election, I said that if I could know one single fact about the results, I could tell you who was going to win Pennsylvania. Whoever wins Erie County will win Pennsylvania,” Fetterman declared in a statement about the rally. “Erie County is Pennsylvania’s most important bellwether county. I’ve visited Erie dozens and dozens of times in the past, and I am honored and proud to be returning to the campaign trail here.”

The former lieutenant governor suffered a stroke days before clearing his May 17 Democratic primary. After his subsequent release from the hospital, Fetterman was instructed by his doctors to take it easy and allow his body to heal. He resumed appearances with in-person fundraising over recent days but has not attended a full-scale rally since the health scare.

Despite his absence, Fetterman has enjoyed a commanding lead over Oz, touting an 8.7-point edge in the latest RealClearPolitics polling aggregate, giving Democrats hope of winning a key race that could determine the balance of power in the 50-50 Senate next year.

Polling has also shown Fetterman's voters are more enthusiastic about him than Oz's voters despite the celebrity doctor being backed by former President Donald Trump. Just before Oz clinched the Republican nod to replace outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Trump held a rally in support of him. A number of attendees booed Trump's mention of Oz at various points during the rainy night, showcasing some Republican reticence to the former president's pick.

Throughout his online troll campaign, Fetterman has sought to cast Oz as a rich and out-of-touch carpetbagger. He has circulated a petition to enshrine him in the New Jersey Hall of Fame and tasking Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi to goad Oz into returning to New Jersey. Oz has a longtime home in New Jersey but opted to run in neighboring Pennsylvania, a state that is more favorable for Republicans.

Hey @DrOz ????

JERSEY loves you + will not forget you!!! ????

— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) July 14, 2022


Meanwhile, Oz has sought to ratchet up his online campaign game, recently zinging him over reports that Fetterman's parents gave him financial assistance during his time as mayor of Braddock, which extended into his 40s. This included a $50,000 payment in 2015, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

John Fetterman to his parents at 46 years old.

— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) August 3, 2022

Fetterman has sought to assure Pennsylvanians that he is healthy enough to serve as senator. Last month, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he has “no physical limits" and frequently walks in the scorching heat to stay healthy. While he says he has not suffered memory loss, he may occasionally “miss a word” and is working with a speech therapist to correct that, according to the interview.

Fetterman and Oz will face off at the ballot box on Nov. 8.

John Fetterman News Dr. Oz Pennsylvania Midterms 2022

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Texas National Guardsman patrolling border dies by suicide, and Beto ORourke wastes no time before playing politics

Last year, four troops died by suicide over the span of just eight weeks, prompting an investigation.

More from the Texas Tribune:

When the first suicides linked to Operation Lone Star occurred last year, troops on the mission were struggling through pay problems and poor living conditions. Many were also dissatisfied with the large-scale involuntary activations that were required to meet Gov. Greg Abbott’s troop quotas, according to surveys of the mission’s troops obtained by Army Times and the Tribune.What did O'Rourke say?

In his statement reacting to the news, O'Rourke took a shot at Abbott by claiming Texas National Guardsmen are being used as "political pawns," referring to Operation Lone Star.

"I'm so sorry to hear that a tenth Texas National Guard member has lost their life while deployed under Operation Lone Star," O'Rourke said.

"My thoughts are with his family, community, and the members of the Guard who served all of us alongside him," he added. "They should never be used as political pawns."

\u201cI'm so sorry to hear that a tenth Texas National Guard member has lost their life while deployed under Operation Lone Star. \n\nMy thoughts are with his family, community, and the members of the Guard who served all of us alongside him. They should never be used as political pawns.\u201d — Beto O'Rourke (@Beto O'Rourke) 1664903240

The soldiers, however, are not being used as political pawns.

Rather, Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March 2021 because the Biden administration was failing to adequately respond to the flood of migrants crossing the southern border despite immigration being the responsibility of the federal government.

Operation Lone Star appears to be needed because, since it was launched, a record number of migrants have come into the U.S., which has resulted in a record number of migrant deaths.

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