John Fetterman

No Year of the Outsider in Down-Ballot Races
Despite Success of Anti-Establishment Presidential Candidates, House and Senate Challengers Strike Out

Adrea Zopp is running an outsider campaign against Tammy Duckworth in the Illinois Senate Democratic primary. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

PHILADELPHIA – John Fetterman is the rare candidate for U.S. Senate who belongs in dive bars like this one in north Philadelphia. But just because your candidacy is calibrated for hipsters – and there were a few dozen of them crammed into the charmingly dingy Billy Murphy’s Irish Saloon here last week – that doesn’t mean they’re going to treat you like a rock star, or even like Bernie Sanders, when you talk.  

A few in the youthful crowd clapped when the Democrat Fetterman – who’s known as much for his brawny NFL stature as his unapologetically progressive politics – was introduced. More cheered after Fetterman, 46, declared that marijuana should be made legal.  

Bernie Sanders as GOP Tool: Their Plan to Use Him Against Democrats

Sanders speaks Feb. 1 at his caucus night rally at the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport and Conference Center in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernard Sanders’ surprisingly strong candidacy for president has laid bare a sharp division within the Democratic coalition, pitting its activist base against the moderate-minded establishment.  

It’s a split Republicans — especially the ones focused on winning down-ballot races this fall — are now racing to exploit.