Wednesday, Ms. Wilkes, 71, a former hospital chef, remarked, “I adore it.” John overcome several challenges.
Ms. Wilkes, a resident of Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill area, said that her sister formerly worked at the Edgar Thomson steel factory outside Braddock, Pennsylvania, where Mr. Fetterman served as mayor for 13 years.
By rebranding his campaign after a near-fatal stroke and appealing to everyone who “was knocked down and had to get back up,” as he put it, Mr. Fetterman seemed to resonate with a large number of Pennsylvanians who reacted to his story of defeat and recovery.
As Mr. Fetterman’s Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, attempted to frame it, voters said that they considered Mr. Fetterman to be sympathetic and even inspirational. His personal regeneration, however partial, reflected a campaign promise — the revival of Pennsylvania areas that feel abandoned, a left-wing reaction to the appeal that Donald J. Trump made in 2016 to win Pennsylvania and other industrial states.
Mr. Fetterman said at his election celebration on Wednesday morning, “For every job that has ever been lost, for every plant that has ever shuttered, and for every individual who works hard but never gets ahead.” I am proud of our platform.
In Pittsburgh, a liberal city with steel origins that has been revived as a technological and medical hub, Fetterman supporters voiced a flurry of optimism on Wednesday that his progressive views will help suffering people and serve as a national model for the Democratic Party. They also spoke in a detailed, even intimate manner, how his health difficulties mirrored their own lives.
Kim Kifer, a 59-year-old banker who has family members who have had a stroke, deemed Mr. Fetterman’s performance in the debate last month “not good” because he stumbled over his words and left phrases incomplete. She noted, however, that the act displayed bravery.
Ms. Kifer added, “I found it motivating.” “I was impressed that he really attended the debate. I believe it takes incredible bravery to mount up again.”
For many Democrats, Wednesday was just a day of immense relief — for Mr. Fetterman’s triumph, and for a night in which the party nationally essentially avoided a thrashing at the hands of Republican candidates and leaders whom many see as extremists.
“I’m extremely thrilled — very, very glad, relieved, and fatigued,” said Dianne Lassman, 66, a yoga instructor who is a member of the Order of the Phoenix, a grass-roots organisation created after Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016 to assist progressives win elections.
As of late Wednesday, Mr. Fetterman had won the election by just around 182,000 votes out of more than five million voted. Shana Smith, 59, who voted for Dr. Oz, was astonished that more people did not vote their wallets and choose the Republican candidate.
“People can’t survive with the price of fuel and food,” remarked Shana Smith, 59, as she crossed Market Square on her way to work for the county criminal courts. “So many homeless individuals. So many individuals cannot afford their medicines.”
A lot of voters believed that Mr. Fetterman’s victory would settle the recurrent argument among Democrats over whether progressive or moderate candidates had the greatest chance of winning in swing states such as Pennsylvania. They said that it demonstrated that there was real support for progressives.
Mr. Fetterman’s route to statewide success was primarily paved with highly red-leaning rural counties. He was able to win these counties by larger majorities than Mr. Biden did in 2020 against Mr. Trump. Michelle McFall, the Democratic chair of Westmoreland County, east of Pittsburgh, one of these deep-red regions, attended Mr. Fetterman’s election night reception in the city.