To be honest, I think that Dr. Oz won the Pennsylvania senate race long before Tuesday’s debate. John Fetterman’s polling numbers had been stalled for a while and all the cries of “New Jersey” stopped being effective months ago. The Tuesday debate probably just put the final nail in a coffin that was already being hammered shut.
Would Connor Lamb be winning this race at this point? It’s hard to say. The national environment is terrible for Democrats but Dr. Oz has a lot of negatives of his own. Connor Lamb would probably be a Tim Ryan-style candidate. Ryan is losing in Ohio but he probably could have won in Pennsylvania.
Would John Fetterman be winning right now if he hadn’t had a stroke? Again, I’m not sure. Fetterman has never been as impressive a candidate as some have made him out to be. Even if Fetterman hadn’t had a stroke, he would still be a trust fund kid pretending to be working class. He would still be the person basing parole decisions on The Shawshank Redemption. Oz would still have his negatives but, at a time when voters are concerned about crime and rightfully skeptical of Democrats in general, I think this race was always destined to be close.