The Democratic mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, is testing just how much voters will side with an outsider
"I do not look like a typical politician," said John Fetterman, who said Monday he was running for U.S. Senate
Voters are already swooning over a Democratic socialist with wild hair (Bernie Sanders) and a former reality star with apparently real hair (Donald Trump), so perhaps it’s fitting that a shaved-bald, giant of a man with a wily goatee would seek to capitalize on the wave of supporters for outsider candidates this cycle.
John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, announced Monday that he was seeking the Democratic nomination to take on Republican Sen. Pat Toomey next year. Standing at 6’ 8”, with tattoos and wearing cargo shorts and a black, short-sleeved shirt, Fetterman announced his bid from a rooftop near Pittsburgh, according to WTAE-4 in Pittsburgh.
“I do not look like a typical politician. Ha, I don’t even look like a typical person,” said Fetterman, who is running against Katie McGinty and former Rep. Joe Sestak for the Democratic nod.
Voters have taken a shine to outsiders so far – lifting up candidates like Sanders, Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, while peeling away from veteran politicians like Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.
On the face of it, Fetterman fits that mold: he is a former Americorps volunteer, albeit a Harvard-educated one, who has spent the last 14 years working in Braddock to try and turn around the western Pennsylvania steel town.
But he faces one candidate with strong establishment backing – McGinty has won the support of former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell – and another with strong Washington ties – Sestak.
“I haven’t done any polls, I haven’t done any focus groups. I mean look at me. I’m not a polished specimen here,” he told WTAE’s Bob Mayo. “I’m going to either win or lose this race by being my true authentic self and telling the people the truth. And if me winning would require me being disingenuous or not telling the truth to people, I wouldn’t want to win.”