All About John Fetterman, the Democrat Who Defeated Dr. Oz in the Pennsylvania Senate Race

John Fetterman
John Fetterman

Justin Merriman/Getty

Democrat John Fetterman is making headlines after winning the Pennsylvania Senate race over Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, according to several news network projections.

After one of the most hotly contested campaigns in the country, Fetterman flipped a Senate seat blue — becoming the first Democrat to win the seat since 1962 as he defeated the Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor in the race.

"It's official. I will be the next U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania," Fetterman tweeted upon his victory. "We bet on the people of Pennsylvania — and you didn't let us down. And I won't let you down. Thank you."

The Senate seat was vacated by outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey, creating the first open Senate seat in Pennsylvania in over a decade. Fetterman's win helps the Democratic Party as they look to secure bigger margins on Capitol Hill.

Between his viral campaigning moments and family background, here's everything to know about Fetterman.

RELATED: John Fetterman Defeats Dr. Oz in Critical Pennsylvania Senate Race, Huge Win for Democrats

He is the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Fetterman served as the mayor of Braddock from 2006 to 2019 before being elected the 34th lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania in 2018. During his tenure, he amassed national attention for his efforts to legalize cannabis statewide in addition to countering President Donald Trump's claims of election fraud in Pennsylvania.

His Pennsylvania Senate win is pretty historic

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bonnie Biess/Getty John Fetterman, Mehmet Oz

Last year, Fetterman announced his candidacy in the 2022 U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania — and after one of the most hotly contested campaigns in the country, he defeated Republican Dr. Oz in the race. Flipping a Senate seat blue, Fetterman became the first Democrat to win this seat since 1962.

Despite Oz's sudden momentum in the weeks leading up to the election (with some polls calling him the frontrunner), Fetterman led early. He often took to social media to call out the former television personality for gaffes, including his widely shared shopping trip for "crudités."

Issues like raising the minimum wage, criminal justice reform, abortion access, voting rights, and protections for LGBTQ+ people are all issues Fetterman has reportedly campaigned on, often in rural counties filled with working-class voters who supported Trump.

RELATED: Pa. Senate Candidate John Fetterman Trolls Opponent Dr. Oz with 'Welcome Home' Banner Flying over Jersey Shore

He suffered a stroke days before the primary election

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, D-Pa., speaks during a rally at the UFCW Local 1776 KS headquarters in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., on Saturday, April 16, 2022.
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, D-Pa., speaks during a rally at the UFCW Local 1776 KS headquarters in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., on Saturday, April 16, 2022.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

Just days before the primary election in May, Fetterman suffered a stroke and later underwent a procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator. Ultimately, Fetterman won the primaryfrom a hospital bed — handily. His doctor later revealed he has atrial fibrillation, which caused the stroke, and cardiomyopathy, which is why he got the implant.

In August, he hopped back on the campaign trail, saying in an emotional speech that he felt "better than I have in years."

RELATED: Pa. Senate Candidate John Fetterman Reveals Heart Condition Following Stroke, Democratic Primary Win

His tattoos have special meanings

John Fetterman, lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic senate candidate, center, and his wife Gisele Fetterman, center left, walk with the United Steelworkers District 10 union during a Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, on Monday, Sept. 5, 2022. Pennsylvania is holding a number of high-profile election contests, including the open Senate seat race that is pitting Fetterman against Republican Mehmet Oz.
John Fetterman, lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic senate candidate, center, and his wife Gisele Fetterman, center left, walk with the United Steelworkers District 10 union during a Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, on Monday, Sept. 5, 2022. Pennsylvania is holding a number of high-profile election contests, including the open Senate seat race that is pitting Fetterman against Republican Mehmet Oz.

Justin Merriman/Bloomberg via Getty

In an op-ed published by NBC News in September, Fetterman opened up about the personal meaning behind some of his tattoos.

The Democrat has nine tattoos on his right forearm and wrote that they each represent "a day on which someone died violently while I was mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania." He explained that the ink reading "01.16.06." is the date when Christopher Williams was shot dead while delivering pizzas.

He went on to detail the other dates memorialized by his tattoos, writing that they all serve as "reminders of the people we have lost and what I am fighting for." He added: "My decision to mark these deaths with tattoos was inspired in part by their permanence — the fact that these people, their stories and my town will be with me forever."

RELATED: John Fetterman Reveals the Story Behind His Tattoos After Tucker Carlson Called Them 'Fake'

He earned his master's from Harvard University

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, greets supporters following a discussion event at Stolen Sun Craft Brewing Company in Exton, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, greets supporters following a discussion event at Stolen Sun Craft Brewing Company in Exton, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.

Joe Lamberti/AP Photo Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

Prior to his political endeavors, Fetterman pursued a profession in the insurance industry, having studied finance at Albright College before earning an MBA from the University of Connecticut.

After graduating, he joined AmeriCorps and earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School (the school of public policy and government of Harvard University) in 1999. He moved to Braddock in 2004 and was elected mayor the following year.

RELATED: Sen. Candidate John Fetterman Uses Dr. Oz's Viral Supermarket Gaffe to Call Out the Celebrity's Privilege

He's married and is a father to three kids

john fetterman, gisele fetterman
john fetterman, gisele fetterman

Gisele Fetterman Gisele and John Fetterman (left and center) with their children

The politician married Gisele Fetterman in 2008 and they share three kids together: Karl, Gracie and August. The two first connected after Gisele wrote him a letter inquiring about Braddock and the efforts to revitalize the community.

Originally from Brazil, the First Lady of Pennsylvania received her green card in 2004, four years before her marriage, and became a U.S. citizen in 2009. She has devoted her life to helping others, with a focus on nutrition, food equity and meeting Pennsylvanians' basic needs.

The parents have tried to preserve their kids' childhoods to an extent, though. "We do talk about the race around the house a bit and the kids will come to rallies when they can, but they also have their own lives," Gisele told PEOPLE. "They go to school every day, they go over to their friends' houses, they have homework to do. Their calendars are very full already."