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Fetterman vs. Oz: Senate showdown takes shape

Plus, Pa.’s first case of monkeypox confirmed.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
June 6, 2022
Match set, clean slate, school scrutiny, on appeal, shooting sprees, primary results, and a rare animal encounter. It's Monday. This is PA Post.
David McCormick has conceded Pennsylvania's GOP U.S. Senate primary to Mehmet Oz, the bow-out coming with an automatic recount well underway and McCormick gaining few votes in the process.

McCormick's withdrawal, announced in a speech to supporters on Friday, means the Trump-endorsed Oz will face Democratic nominee and current Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in November.

The GOP quickly launched an attack ad, fact-checked by Politico here, that says Fetterman "sided with socialists, backed a government takeover of health care" and "embraced parts of the Green New Deal."

Democrats, meanwhile, are tying Oz to former President Donald Trump and casting his campaign as yet another act of celebrity self-promotion. 

Among the biggest wildcards in the race: Fetterman's health. On Friday, he revealed he had ignored doctor's orders for years — leading up to a stroke that sidelined his primary campaign last month — and "almost died."

THE CONTEXT: In a letter shared with news outlets, Fetterman's cardiologist, Ramesh R. Chandra, revealed a previously undisclosed cardiomyopathy diagnosis, the reason doctors implanted a pacemaker with a defibrillator into Fetterman's heart after his stroke. 

Chandra said Fetterman did not follow doctor's orders after a 2017 appointment but should be able to campaign and serve in the U.S. Senate if he follows those orders from here on out.

The U.S. Senate seat is a must-win for Democrats and rated the most likely in the nation to flip despite strong midterm headwinds for the party.

The outcome will help decide partisan control of the chamber — and with it the potential future of federal policy around health care, abortion, guns, taxes, the U.S. Supreme Court, and other pivotal issues.

"We encourage staff to escalate any quality or patient safety concerns, and no nurse would face disciplinary action ... for raising any related concerns."

UPMC spokesperson Ed DeWitt outlining a policy that UPMC Altoona nurses say has been twice violated by the health giant in recent weeks
Harrisburg's Cathedral of Saint Patrick, via Robert N. Send us your gems, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
VOTER ROLLS: GOP nominee for governor and prominent 2020 election denier Doug Mastriano says he wants to make everyone in Pennsylvania re-register if they want to vote again. Legal scholars tell the AP that the concept "flatly violates federal law and may conflict with state law, not to mention constitutional protections." But Pennsylvania's top-down style of election administration could make it a test case in whether "laws meant to protect voter access to the polls can be undermined."

SCHOOL SPENDING: A public schools advocacy group wants the state auditor general to investigate taxpayer-funded spending by Pennsylvania's largest cyber charter school, the Commonwealth Charter Academy. The group says the school with 20,000 students gave enrolled families cash payments and reimbursements that were spent on football games, concerts, horseback riding lessons, and more. The school told ABC27 that the spending is being mischaracterized.

APPEAL PLAN: House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R., Centre) is looking to appeal the state Supreme Court ruling that confirmed Pennsylvania's new legislative maps to the highest court in the land. The Inquirer's Jonathan Lai reports that if a formal petition is filed and granted, the case could be heard later this year. With the new congressional map already on appeal, it would mean all of Pennsylvania's redistricted maps being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court.

GUN DEATHS: Fourteen people were shot, three fatally, on South Street in Philadelphia late Saturday. The shooting was the tenth recorded in the city over the course of two days and one of several with multiple victims seen nationwide over the weekend. As Spotlight PA recently reported, Philly's attempts to rein in guns locally have been thwarted by a state law that vests the legislature with the sole power to regulate gun ownership here, but the state's highest court could soon change that.

PRIMARY UPDATES: It appears veteran state Sen. Pat Browne (R., Lehigh) has lost his primary bid for reelection as counties sign off on vote counts that leave him 19 votes behind his farther-to-the-right challenger, WFMZ reports. Browne would have to finance a recount and get a court order to carry it out. In other primary news: A 2020 election denial group's recount push in two Lancaster County legislative races has been rejected almost entirely over faulty petitions, LNP reports.
CASE CONFIRMED: Pennsylvania's first case of monkeypox has been found in Philadelphia, the CDC confirms, via NBC10. At least 20 confirmed or suspected cases have been reported in the U.S. amid a global outbreak. The White House says it's ramping up testing, contact tracing, and sending vaccines to high-risk people, including health-care workers.

PA PROMOS: Stakeholders say Pennsylvania is being outspent on tourism marketing by its neighbors and leaving money on the table as a result, the Meadville Tribune reports. A study commissioned by some of those same stakeholders found that for every $1 Pennsylvania cut from tourism spending, it actually lost $4.48 in combined state and local tax revenue.

IN MEMORIAM: Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered flags at half-staff for retired Democratic state Rep. Peter Daley II, who died last week following heart surgery complications, per the Observer-Reporter. Daley was 71 and represented parts of Washington and Fayette Counties for 34 years. 

NEW CONNECT: Amtrak will launch Thruway Bus Service today from Reading and Pottstown to Philadelphia, Philly Voice reports. Twice daily round trips will connect travelers from both cities to the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and Amtrak's broader rail network. 

FISHER KING: A Potter County hunter documented a close encounter with the reclusive fisher, the state's second-largest member of the weasel family behind the river otter. But these kinds of encounters might become less rare over time with the species continuing to rebound here.
Unscramble and send your answer to We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

This week's theme: English words with Greek origins
Friday's answer: Amphitheater

Congrats to our weekly winner: David W.

Congrats to our daily winners: Vicki U., Becky C., Susan N.-Z., Don H., Ted W., Kimberly S., Bette G., Elaine C., Eddy Z., Elizabeth W., Craig W., Bonnie R., Doris T., Kimberly B., George S., Heidi B., Karen W., Daniel M., Susan D., Jill A.-S., Nancy S., Sharon P., and Bill S.
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