(NewsNation) — Pennsylvania’s Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and his Republican challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz faced off in a heated debate Tuesday night.
The Senate candidates, who are trying to fill the Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, spoke out on a variety of subjects like the state of the economy and abortion restrictions. Fetterman is still recovering from a stroke he suffered in May.
The debate also had closed captioning as an accommodation. Both campaigns agreed to have everything the moderators and Oz said typed out on a large screen by captioners providing live transcriptions.
Pennsylvania voters appeared on “CUOMO” to give their thoughts after the debate. One voter said she’s airing on the side of Fetterman.
“I thought it was really brave of him to come out there dealing with what he’s dealing with (…) I think it’s important that we see people in their human state. That is the human way to have struggles. I really felt what he was going through and felt like that was probably the best choice for me,” she said.
While providing post-debate analysis on “CUOMO, ” political commentator Chris Stirewalt said the debate was hard to watch.
“My heart really went out to John Fetterman as he struggled, watching as he tried to answer that question about his flip flop on fracking was heartbreaking,” Stirewalt said.
As he continued watching the debate, Stirewalt said he felt it was “irresponsible” for Democrats and Fetterman’s family to allow him to proceed in the general election.
“Democrats had another candidate. They had Conor Lamb, a congressman from western Pennsylvania, who I promise would be ahead in this race. They insisted that Fetterman had to march on. He had the stroke before the primary, that he had to stay in the primary, that he had to go through and do this. What made it even sadder for me was that the argument behind Fetterman’s whole candidacy was that Conor Lamb was too moderate, too squishy, not going to stand up for hardcore progressive principles. I watched John Fetterman struggle to try to flip flop,” Stirewalt said.
Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D) says he thinks Fetterman performed well during the debate and that he does not have any concern about Fetterman’s health if he would be elected.
“I’ve watched the remarkable progress he’s made in just a couple of months. Most people take six or eight months to get to the point where he’s been at after a few months (…) John is ready to do this job on day one. In fact, I think tonight we had a lesson in what it means to have a debate about issues even with something as fundamental as closed captioning, which is so basic to our policy over the last 30 years, ever since we had the Americans with Disabilities Act in place. People are doing their jobs every day, working through those challenges like John did tonight. I think he did real well,” Casey said.
Still, Stirewalt said it was a “tragedy” Fetterman was “pushed into” continuing the campaign. He also believes the debate will cause a shift in the polls.
As of Monday, Fetterman had a 53% chance of winning the Senate seat over Oz’s 47 percent, according to Decision Desk HQ’s election model.