Pennsylvania Senate candidate and the state’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is heading back to the campaign trail after health troubles sidelined him for more than 90 days.
Fetterman, 52, will host an event Friday evening in Erie County, Pennsylvania where the Democrat is expected to open up about a stroke he suffered in May that threatened his political aspirations as well as his life.
Campaign spokesman Joe Calvello said Fetterman’s return to the campaign trail will start with a few lower-profile events before ramping up his schedule.
“He’ll talk about how blessed he is to be back,” Calvello said. “It’ll be somewhat emotional — a little raw about what he went through, how grateful he is to be campaigning again.”
Fetterman’s recovery is also in question as he previously declined to take prescribed medication. “He’s following the doctor’s orders,” Calvello clarified, saying the Democratic candidate is also adhering to a low-sodium diet and is walking three to five miles per day.
“He’ll miss a word here or there when he’s speaking sometimes, or maybe in a crowded room he’ll miss hearing a word,” the spokesperson said. “Besides that, he’s rock solid.”
The return to the campaign trail comes as the Democrat is in one of the most contested senatorial races in the country, against Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz, who has repeatedly drawn attention to Fetterman’s absence from the campaign.
“Have You Seen This Person?” Oz asked in a poster shared online last month. “It has been 90 DAYS since Fetterman’s last public campaign event. Pennsylvanians deserve answers.”
The Senate’s current 50-50 tie makes each senatorial race important for both parties but the Pennsylvania contest is especially consequential as it will fill the vacancy left by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
The contest is already the most expensive senate race in the country and has featured major endorsements including one from former President Donald Trump, who backs Oz.
Fetterman’s absence from the campaign has not severely impacted the lead he holds over Oz in most polls as Fox News and Beacon Research have Fetterman up 11 points.
Other polling data shows a smaller gap between the candidates as Blueprint Polling and Suffolk University have Fetterman up 9 points, Fabrizio Ward has Fetterman up 6, and Cygnal has Fetterman up 4.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.