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Fetterman to hold first campaign rally since suffering a stroke

The Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee will appear in Erie County next Friday, his campaign said.
Image: John Fetterman
John Fetterman campaigns for U.S. Senate at a meet and greet at Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport on May 10, 2022 in Lemont Furnace, Pa.Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman has announced plans to hold his first campaign rally since suffering a stroke in May.

The rally will be held in Erie, Pa., on Aug. 12, his campaign said in a news release Friday. The campaign noted that Donald Trump narrowly won Erie County, one of Pennsylvania’s biggest bellwether counties, in 2016, and Joe Biden won it in 2020.

"Before the 2020 election, I said that if I could know one single fact about the results, I could tell you who was going to win Pennsylvania. Whoever wins Erie County will win Pennsylvania," Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, said in a statement Friday. "I’ve visited Erie dozens and dozens of times in the past, and I am honored and proud to be returning to the campaign trail here."

Fetterman, 52, said he suffered a stroke in mid-May, two days before Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary. He won the primary while recovering in the hospital, and was released a few days later.

Fetterman said in June that he almost died and should have taken his health more seriously.

“Doctors have told me I need to continue to rest, eat healthy, exercise, and focus on my recovery, and that’s exactly what I’m doing,” he said at the time. “I’m not quite back to 100% yet, but I’m getting closer every day.”

Fetterman faces Mehmet Oz, the Trump-endorsed wealthy celebrity doctor, in November's midterm elections.

Recent polls show Fetterman with a comfortable lead in the race, which could determine the balance of power in the Senate.

Politico was first to report Fetterman's planned return to the campaign trail.

In a statement to NBC News, Oz’s campaign manager Casey Contres attacked Fetterman for forgoing public events while recovering from the stroke. "Fetterman hates talking to the press almost as much as he hates talking to voters," Contres said.