NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Voters in a rural Pennsylvania county were split when it came to the heated battle for U.S. Senate brewing in the state between Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, a political newcomer.
Fox News Digital spoke to a number of residents in Indiana County, which overwhelmingly supported former President Donald Trump in 2020, ahead of a scheduled Fetterman rally there, and asked them who they preferred in the race, as well as what issues mattered most to them as they head to the polls this November.
Resident Stephen Smith felt Fetterman was a good fit to represent Pennsylvania regardless of the office he was seeking, and said that he could see himself voting for him “in just about any race.” He admitted, however, that he would have preferred him to run for governor rather than the Senate.
Smith said he identified as a libertarian and that he was most concerned about the economy and rising inflation.
Mehmet Oz, Republican Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, and Democratic nominee, current Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (Hannah Beier/Bloomberg | Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
“My wife is struggling to find a job. The economy is not solid around here. Something needs to change with that… Just getting things moving in an area like this, because I mean there’s just nothing here,” he said.
He added that when it came to the increase in crime across the state, a bigger effort was needed to address mental illness, as well as the transition of people who had committed crimes back into society.
Resident Jerry Ross had a vastly different view on the issue crime, telling Fox News Digital that it was a big issue in the Senate race, and that there needed to be a crackdown on criminals.
“I don’t think you can have a society without a crackdown on crime to where the streets are safe, to where neighborhoods are safe, to where families can go out, people can go out to jog or run… without crime,” he said. “The liberal approach to the crime problem does not seem to be working.”
Ross said he would be voting for Oz because of the candidate’s conservative principles, and that, besides crime, he was concerned about the direction the country was headed and the shift away from using natural resources for energy.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. and Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman speaks to a crowd gathered at aa United Steel Workers of America Labor Day event with President Joe Biden in West Mifflin, Pa., just outside Pittsburgh, Monday Sept. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Rebecca Droke)
Resident Christopher Wansal was less forthcoming as to which candidate would get his support, but vowed that he would cast his vote on election day.
He implored people to stop letting their political and religious beliefs define who they are and said people should vote “what’s in their hearts.”
He added that, as a college town, Indiana, Pennsylvania, was full of young people with different backgrounds and that they were also ready to have their voices heard and would make an impact with their vote.
Married couple George and Norma Carpenter were enthusiastic supporters of Fetterman, telling Fox News Digital he was “tried and true” as a politician. They also claimed Oz had just moved to Pennsylvania, referencing him being ridiculed as a carpetbagger from New Jersey.
The couple had a range of concerns, the top being “voter suppression,” along with healthcare for all, and “financial equity.”
Mehmet Oz, celebrity physician and US Republican Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, speaks during a town hall in Bell Blue, Pennsylvania, US, on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Rachel Wisniewski/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
George added that he had a “conservative mind,” but a “liberal heart,” and that Republicans were “not for the working class.”
The couple did, however, stress the need to support police, as well as all first responders and workers in essential jobs.
Fox News’ Power Rankings has rated Pennsylvania’s Senate race between Oz and Fetterman as a “toss up.”
The general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Brandon Gillespie is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_cg.