Braddock Mayor John Fetterman Wins Democratic Lieutenant Governor Primary

May 15, 2018

John Fetterman solidly beat our four other Democratic candidates in the primary for lieutenant governor, including the incumbent, Mike Stack.

When the race was called, Fetterman had nearly 40 percent of the votes. Fellow Democrat Nina Ahmad was the closest behind him with roughly 22 percent of the vote.

He will face the Republican candidate Jeff Bartos in November.

After pointing out that his kids were up way past their bedtime, he thanked all his supporters who came to his watch party at Superior Motors in Braddock.

Fetterman's victory makes Stack the first holder of the office to lose in a primary election.

He will also run on a ticket with Gov. Tom Wolf in the fall. Pennsylvania first started allowing lieutenant governors to serve a second term in the 1970s.

Fetterman had made a failed bid in 2016 for the U.S. Senate.

Stack, a former Philadelphia state senator, has had a chilly relationship with Wolf in their first term together.

Wolf last year ordered an investigation into the treatment of state employees by Stack and his wife and stripped Stack of state police protection.

Fetterman had the support of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and former Governor Ed Rendell. Earlier this month, he was also endorsed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at a rally in Philadelphia.

When Fetterman announced his candidacy last year, he focused on Braddock, the town where he built his reputation, saying he was running for lieutenant governor because “local problems this large require a lot of help and assistance form higher levels of government, and we’re not getting that right now.”

While campaigning, Fetterman focused on issues like gun violence, raising the minimum wage, and immigration; his wife Gisele came to the United States from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with her family as an undocumented immigrant when she was a child.

Fetterman has served as the Mayor of Braddock for the last 12 years and lives in a remodeled Chevrolet car dealership in town with his family.

“I suspect I’m the only mayor in America that can say he lives directly across the street from a steel mill. I can count Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mill as my neighbor,” he said in a PennLive video.

Fetterman grew up in York, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. After school, he moved to Braddock to work for Americorps. Fetterman first ran for mayor in 2005, and won the election by one vote.

Since becoming mayor, Fetterman has gained the attention of national news outlets, making multiple appearances on the Colbert Report. In 2009, The Atlantic branded him as a “Brave Thinker,” saying his plans to rebuild Braddock could “serve as a model for other devastated industrial towns.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.