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Democrat John Fetterman beats Trump-backed Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania Senate race

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate John Fetterman holds a rally last month in Wallingford, Pa.
Mark Makela
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Getty Images
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate John Fetterman holds a rally last month in Wallingford, Pa.

Follow live updates and election results here.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is headed to the U.S. Senate following a campaign full of personal health debates and a fight for control of one of the nation's battleground states. He defeated Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz.

The Senate seat was vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, creating the first open Senate seat in Pennsylvania in a dozen years. Fetterman's victory helps the Democrats as they look to secure bigger margins on Capitol Hill.

Currently, Democrats hold a narrow majority in the House, and the Senate is split at 50-50, with Vice President Harris holding a tie-breaking vote.

Mehmet Oz, celebrity physician and Republican Senate candidate, speaks during a town hall in Bell Blue, Pa., in May.
Rachel Wisniewski / Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mehmet Oz, celebrity physician and Republican Senate candidate, speaks during a town hall in Bell Blue, Pa., in May.

Fetterman's health came into question after he suffered a stroke days before the primary; he needed to undergo a pacemaker implant procedure. For two months he did not return to the campaign trail and only did video appearances.

Fetterman did go back on the road and used closed captioning for some interviews.

Oz, who rose to prominence in appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, announced his bid for the Senate last year based on opposition to the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oz has promoted hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment, has previously been criticized for other health recommendations, and has testified at a Senate hearing on deceptive advertising for diet supplements.

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Ximena Bustillo
Ximena Bustillo is a multi-platform reporter at NPR covering politics out of the White House and Congress on air and in print.