BRADDOCK, Pa. — At an election night party at the Brew Gentlemen pub in his hometown, Fetterman told a disappointed crowd of supporters that despite his loss to Katie McGinty, he was proud of the movement they had started in Pennsylvania.
“You took a small town mayor from a forgotten steel town in Pennsylvania and made him a candidate for U.S. Senate,” Fetterman said. “I couldn’t be more grateful.”
In the end, the 6 foot 8 candidate with the tattooed arms wasn’t able to compete with what he called the big money that McGinty received, despite garnering national attention early in his campaign. His unorthodox wardrobe of a work shirt and cargo shorts demonstrated that Fetterman, the mayor of one of the most impoverished towns in western Pennsylvania, was not your usual Senate candidate.
Despite driving to rallies all over the state in his pickup truck to speak to young supporters, in the end, Fetterman wasn’t able to gain the name recognition or the cash to mount a successful challenge.
“We were badly outspent,” Fetterman said. “We were outspent 15 to 1, and it’s hard to win when your own party is weaponizing its resources against you. But we had so much excitement and enthusiasm online and all over the state.”
Most polls going into the final stretch put him a distant third to Joe Sestak and McGinty, but Fetterman kept campaigning until the bitter end. On Monday, he attended a Bernie Sanders rally at the University of Pittsburgh, trying as he says, to “energize other Berners.” But he was once again in the crowd, not an invited guest of the senator from Vermont.
During a town hall on MSNBC Monday night, Sanders told host Chris Hayes why he had failed to endorse Fetterman, even though the two seem idealogically aligned, and despite the Braddock mayor’s unflinching support: “I don’t know enough about John, to be honest with you.”
But Fetterman remained a staunch Sanders supporter. “I have no regrets about going all in with Senator Sanders,” he said. “Two grassroots candidates would have been amazing. It would have been a powerful narrative, for us to campaign together around Pennsylvania the past nine months. ”
Fetterman says that he doesn’t have plans to pursue another elected office. “Braddock will always be my true love.”
When asked what’s next for him, Fetterman said, “I don’t really know, but I know I get to go back to this great job that I love and spend some time with my kids. We still have work to do.”
Fetterman told the gathering he was proud of pulling in more than 20 percent of the vote, given the financial disadvantage his campaign faced.
He said he called McGinty to congratulate her and “thanked her for running a good campaign.”
He ended his remarks to the gathered faithful on an upbeat note: “Let’s have a beer!”