Gabby Deardorff of Royersford and some 100 fellow John Fetterman supporters were gathered at Imprint Brewing, a brewpub in Hatfield, Friday evening. They hoped to see the lieutenant governor and cheer his race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination. Then a campaign aide made a brief announcement that the candidate wasn’t feeling well, and the event was canceled.

Some supporters stayed to have a beer and a bite to eat, taking a “these things happen” view of the news.

Fetterman revealed on Sunday he had suffered a stroke.

“The good news is I’m feeling much better and the doctors tell me that I didn’t suffer any cognitive damage,” said Fetterman. “I’m well on my way to a full recovery. So there is a lot to be thankful for.”

Deardorff told DVJournal Friday night she supports Fetterman “because he’s a progressive.”

“I’m frustrated with the Democratic Party catering to the moderate middle, and I think we need more progressive leaders.”

(From left) Chelsie Smith, Karen Weingarten and Gabby Deardorff

Deardorff and Upper Providence resident Karen Weingarten are both Springford Area School Board members. Fetterman recently came to one of their campaign events.

“I think (Fetterman) is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He came out to an event for us. He was really supportive of local politics,” Weingarten said. “He’s easy to talk to. When he spoke at our event, you could tell he was genuine and unscripted.”

“I’m supporting Gisele and Levi,” joked Chelsie Smith,  a reference Fetterman’s wife and dog. Fetterman “was a mayor of a small town, and he has seen local government and moved his way through and seen what we have in Harrisburg. He knows what we need in D.C. We need a progressive person. We can’t do middle-of-the-road anymore.”

Dennis Trainer

Richard Detwiler of Souderton Borough said he is impressed with Fetterman’s “ability to be a normal person.”

Sarah Detwiler and Richard Detwiler

“I’m supporting anybody who is running for Senate who is not a Republican,” said Detwiler. “We can’t stand by and watch the world go to Trump.” Detwiler added that he had been an independent for years because of the Vietnam War but decided to become a Democrat.

“There was no way I could vote for (the parties of) Johnson or Nixon,” he said.

His daughter, Sarah Detwiler of Philadelphia, said she supports Fetterman as well.

“He doesn’t represent the Democratic establishment,” she said. “He’s a real person, not a politician.”

Dennis Trainer of Glenside said, “I just think he’s a good guy.” Referencing Fetterman’s biography, Trainer added, “He’s compassionate. He came to Braddock because he lost a friend.” Eventually, he ran for mayor to confront the crime problem.

As Trainer spoke with DVJournal, a man who saw the word “veteran” on Trainer’s baseball cap approached and thanked him for his service. Trainer turned the cap around, revealing that it was a political message:

“Veteran of the Class War.”


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