Calls are made by Pennsylvania Republicans that Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) needs to demonstrate his competency to serve or resign according to Just The News. The chorus of Republicans from the Keystone State demand that Mr. Fetterman appears on camera and display that he is still able to function. Mr. Fetterman has been hospitalized for nearly two weeks for clinical depression after suffering from the side effects of a stroke that occurred during his election campaign in May of 2022.
While Mr. Fetterman's staff assure the public that he is “on a path to recovery”, little is known about his condition and it is reported by the New York Post that Fetterman “sometimes struggles to hear people’s voices clearly — comparing it to the muffled words of Charlie Brown’s teacher in ‘Peanuts.'”
Clearly, the utterances by Fetterman's staff have not reassured Republicans. The Washington County Republican Party stated that it “refuses to take assurances from the Office of the Senator or Democrat operatives that Fetterman is able to carry out his duties as Senator.”
WITH SENATOR FETTERMAN IN THE HOSPITAL, ONE WOULD EXPECT HIS WIFE TO BE BY HIS SIDE – SHE FLEES THE COUNTRY INSTEAD
They continued by calling for “Senator Fetterman to appear on camera to show us he is alive and well. and if he is unable to do so, we call upon our elected Representatives in Washington, Senator Casey and Congressman Reschenthaler, to intervene immediately. Ultimately, if Fetterman is unable or unwilling to carry out his duties as a United States Senator, then we ask for his resignation and call for a special election to be held this year.”
The governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro (D), sees no reason to replace the ailing senator. Shapiro commented that “There is no contingency plan and it is 100% Senator Fetterman’s decision as to what he will do in the future…I’m proud of Senator Fetterman for getting the help that he needs and I’m there for Gisele and their family. And I know the people of Pennsylvania I’ve talked to are encouraging him along to get the help that he needs.”
The reason why Shapiro may be hesitant in pushing for Fetterman to step down and appointing his replacement is that to do so would trigger a special senatorial election in 2024. According to state law whereupon “a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator, said vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term by the vote of the electors of the State at a special election to be held at the time of the next general or municipal election.”
If it came to pass that Fetterman steps down, the next general election is in 2024. It also happens in that case that there would be two Senate seats up for elections in the battleground state. Should the Republicans win one of those open seats without any other change in the Senate then this would place the configuration of the upper chamber at 50 Republicans to 50 Democrats (plus the vice president). Should the same happen with both seats then the configuration would be a Republican majority in the Senate.