(NewsNation) — Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman has faced a flurry of attacks from Republicans about his health and stance on crime as he holds a narrow lead over Republican Mehmet Oz in their Senate race.
Fetterman, who suffered from a stroke in May, has come under fire from Oz about his health and has struggled at time to speak in interviews, a side effect of the stroke.
But Republicans, who have made crime one of their major campaign pillars ahead of midterm elections, have zeroed in on publicly criticizing Fetterman’s past stances on criminal justice.
Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, however, says the GOP is “lying” about Fetterman’s health and crime stances.
“I’d say two things because the Republicans have been lying about John Fetterman on a regular basis,” Casey said. “So, I would urge news organizations to check the facts on that assertion. But secondly, I don’t think there’s any question when it comes to votes on crime measures, crime programs, in the federal budget, the Republican Party in Washington, of which Dr. Oz is now a card-carrying member, is the party of crime.”
Oz’s campaign dug up old Fetterman tweets about criminal justice in Pennsylvania and used those tweets out of context to make it sound as though Fetterman was advocating for the release of second degree murderers from prison.
Republicans and right-wing media outlets have often used Philadelphia as an example of a place where “soft-on-crime” Democrats like Fetterman have let their cities become out of control with crime. Yet, crime statistics show that aggravated assaults, rapes and homicides are all lower in Philadelphia in 2022 than they were in 2021. Philadelphia did see a higher number of robberies in 2022 than in 2021.
Casey said the Republican crime narrative is a deflection tactic.
“The Republican Party has earned the distinction, unfortunately — or I should say earned the insult — of voting in favor of crime in our society,” Casey said. “They are the party that’s voting against crime-prevention programs. That’s just a fact. And unfortunately, over and over again, they’ve tried to defund the COPS program. We have stopped them on the Democratic side.”