We find ourselves with what is known in the business as a “toss-up.”

When we shifted our Pennsylvania Senate rating to Lean Democrat about six weeks ago, we included this key caveat — Republican spending against Democratic nominee John Fetterman had yet to ramp up, and that while Republican Mehmet Oz still has a hefty problem with his own favorables, that “it’s not out of the question that this could move back [to Toss Up] as the election nears.”

Now, with five weeks until Election Day, that’s exactly where we find this race. In conversations with several GOP strategists and lawmakers — who a month and a half ago had begun to put the Keystone State in the loss column — this has emerged as a margin-of-error race that they once again see winnable…

All Mehmet Oz has to do is keep trucking along with what he’s been doing, and let John Fetterman continue to trip over himself. His stumbles are starting to pile up, both in campaign appearances and interviews (as the RNC savagely pointed out yesterday)…

…and in his social media forays. From his rude stick figure and balls TikTok video, a cringeworthy meme attempt Ed dissected, to another yesterday taking a shot at Oz’s Columbia research days…

…even as the Oz campaign unloaded on the twisted narrative. The whistleblower herself admitted Oz had never abused an animal, nor was even implicated in that abuse.

…Billy Penn spoke with the researcher who in 2002 blew the whistle on the treatment of animals in the studies.

Catherine Dell’Orto, then a postdoctoral veterinary fellow at Columbia, told Billy Penn that Oz was not implicated in the actual mistreatment of the animals.

John pointed out yesterday, not only has the race moved back into contention, but Oz has had an “exponential increase” in fundraising to make it even more competitive, which had Fetterman complaining to Joy Reid that the race had tightened because they’ve (Republicans) “dumped $20 million into this race.” Then he went begging for donations because “Oz kills puppies.”

Snappy tagline there. What Fetterman hasn’t addressed, and it seems the citizens of Pennsylvania want something done about, is that people are killing people at an alarming rate in their state, and Fetterman seems to have an affinity for the people who kill people. Voters, once the novelty of his freak-show act wore thin, are starting to question the paucity of platform policies and the number of questionable characters in a substance-light campaign. As Jonathan Toobin just put it:

…The Pennsylvania Senate race may actually be decided by an issue that ought to scare Democrats across the nation. A surge in crime, and murder in particular, has become impossible to ignore—and Oz’s opponent, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, has embraced the cause of releasing murderers from prison.

…Chairing the state’s Board of Pardons came with the otherwise insignificant job. After winning the position, Fetterman went to work seeking the release of as many people convicted for second degree and felony murder—in which the convicted persons are often accomplices—as possible. Two such released convicts, who had been serving life sentences, are now working on Fetterman’s campaign and often appear with him.

As Oz says in the FoxNews interview embedded in the article…

John Fetterman is probably the most pro-murderer candidate in America.

That is what is going to make the difference in the race. Are Blacks going to pull the lever/punch the screen for someone who actively campaigns to put violent predators back into their communities? Who has his own racial animus baggage he’s yet to answer for? Are white liberals, already looking askance at the damage DA’s like Larry Krasner are wreaking on their cities – which will inevitably creep into their safer enclaves as the inner city victim pool dries up – going to do the same for an inarticulate, freeloading buffoon? Well, they could very well. (See: Biden, Joseph)

But those hard-working, middle-class, hard-hit folks that Fetterman larps being one of?

They won’t.

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