Election 2022

The thing Taylor Swift and John Fetterman have in common

It has to do with something that happened in 1989…and 1969.

Taylor Swift and John Fetterman

Taylor Swift and John Fetterman

AP Photo
ashaprihar-headshot

When you think about it, Senator-elect John Fetterman has a lot in common with Taylor Swift.

They both love it when Pennsylvania turns out for them (good luck to all the Philly Swifties trying to nab Eras Tour tix). They’re both above average in terms of height — Swift is around 5’11”, and Fetterman is 6’8″.

And there’s one more pretty specific thing: They were both born at Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., about 64 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Fetterman was born at the Berks County medical facility in August 1969. He grew up in York County, went on to study at Albright College in Reading, and eventually settled in the western Pa. town of Braddock — where he served as mayor for 14 years and still resides today.

Fetterman has discussed his Berks County connections, including his birth at Reading Hospital, in interviews and on Twitter. During his early days as lieutenant governor, he told WFMZ that the people of Reading have “a friend and an ally, and really a member of their extended family in the lieutenant governor’s office.”

Swift was born at Reading Hospital in 1989, and lived in nearby Wyomissing before moving to Tennessee at age 14. Her early performing gigs involved singing the national anthem at games for Pa. teams like the Reading Phillies and the 76ers. Since moving away from Pennsylvania, she has owned homes in Nashville, New York, Beverly Hills, and Rhode Island, and she also spends time in London with her partner, actor Joe Alwyn.

Swift’s music occasionally pays homage to her Keystone State upbringing, including a mention in her song “seven” of swinging “high in the sky / with Pennsylvania under me” and the 2019 single “Christmas Tree Farm,” a reference to the farm her parents owned when she was growing up.

She teamed up with Scholastic in 2013 to donate 2,000 books to an early reading program at Reading Hospital’s Child Health Center. Years later, in summer 2018, she paid a visit to her childhood home ahead of a Reputation Tour stop in Philadelphia.

Another similarity for the Reading Hospital babies: They’re both coming off of milestone successes.

Swift is at the top of the music world right now, having recently shattered industry records with her 10th album, Midnights, released in late October. Soon after, 10 of its songs occupied the top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 at once, making Swift the first artist to ever accomplish that feat.

For Fetterman’s part, the Pennsylvania Democrat just won a seat in the U.S. Senate, beating out Republican candidate and TV personality Mehmet Oz in a race that garnered national attention.

Pennsylvania has a big reputation for being politically lavender, and many expected the commonwealth’s competitive Senate race would be too close to call on election night. But it became clear around 2 a.m. early Wednesday morning that outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat would turn blue, rather than staying red.

It seems Fetterman himself might be a Swiftie — or at the very least, someone working on his campaign staff is.

The day before Midnights was released, the Fetterman team co-opted its branding to tease its own revelation dropping at the same time. “Only 19 more midnights until Election Day,” the candidate’s account tweeted. “#MeetMeAtMidnight for some surprise Midterms Midnights Mayhem.”

The hyped-up surprise? Limited-edition campaign shorts. Very on brand.

Fetterman’s team also used Swift’s new hit “Anti-Hero” in a TikTok attacking opponent Oz (who once designed a shake for the singer during his TV personality days), posting it with the caption, “Oz will leave you On Your Own, Kid” (a reference to another new Swift song).

With 2.2 million views, it’s one of Fetterman’s most watched TikToks to date.

 

 

Pennsylvania’s senior U.S. Senator, Democrat Bob Casey Jr., has also been known to hop on the Swift social media train. (Maybe the real story here is about the prevalence of Swifties working in Democratic comms. We see you.)

Casey riffed off the album cover for Midnights to create a fake “Midterms” album cover; joked that last year’s release of the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” was part of “Infrastructure Week”; and even encouraged people to donate $19.89 to his campaign on Swift’s birthday. “Red is better for scarves than Senate seats,” he tweeted on Dec. 13.

It’s not clear how Swift feels about Fetterman; she hasn’t specifically commented on Pennsylvania’s Senate race. Her previous political comments over the past four years have taken aim at Republicans like former President Donald Trump and Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

During 2018, she endorsed on her Instagram account two Tennessee Democrats for Congress — her first ever public political statement after remaining neutral for much of her career — and in 2020 she supported now-President Joe Biden. Earlier this year, Swift expressed her disappointment with the Supreme Court’s decision to roll back federal protections on reproductive rights in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Swift’s next publicly scheduled return to her home state — three consecutive concerts in Philadelphia on May 12, 13, and 14 — is slated for four months after Fetterman is sworn into his new office. She’ll be back in the commonwealth again the month after that for two performances in Pittsburgh on June 16 and 17.

Want some more? Explore other Election 2022 stories.

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