Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman speaks during a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, August 12, 2022.
Quinn Glabicki | Reuters
Pennsylvania’s Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman will defeat Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz in a pivotal Senate race that could prove a decisive blow in the battle for control of the upper chamber of Congress, NBC News projects.
Fetterman will succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, moving a Republican-held Senate seat into Democratic hands.
Democrats, who held the slimmest-possible Senate majority heading into Election Day, were banking on flipping the seat in the key swing state, where President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump two years earlier.
The projected verdict deals another blow to Trump, who backed Oz in a hard-fought GOP primary election and campaigned for him in the general.
“It’s official. I will be the next U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania,” Fetterman tweeted early Wednesday morning.
“We bet on the people of Pennsylvania – and you didn’t let us down,” Fetterman’s tweet said.
A spokeswoman for Oz did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on NBC’s projection.
Oz, a celebrity doctor who had invested millions of dollars of his own money in his first campaign for elected office, trailed Fetterman in the polls throughout the race — even after a stroke took the Democratic nominee off the trail for three months.
A wealthy TV host who lived in New Jersey until a year before launching his campaign, Oz had struggled to shake off accusations of being an out-of-touch carpetbagger with little connection to the Keystone State.
Fetterman’s campaign sought to illustrate this point at every opportunity, slamming Oz for allegedly owning many properties or complaining about the price of vegetables for a “crudites” platter.
Polls showed Oz making gains in the final weeks of the race, as his campaign bombarded Fetterman with accusations of being soft on crime and too far left for Pennsylvania. But Oz still held high unfavorability ratings heading into Election Day.
Before midnight on Tuesday, Oz told a crowd of his supporters that “when all the ballots are counted, we believe we will win this race.”
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.