The union for the Pennsylvania state police, which provides security for Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, on Tuesday endorsed his Republican Senate challenger Mehmet Oz.
The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association said Oz would be "a strong champion for law enforcement officers … at a time when the law enforcement community is facing its greatest challenges." The union, which represents 4,400 current and former state troopers, endorsed Democratic attorney general Josh Shapiro over Republican Doug Mastriano in the state's gubernatorial race.
In addition to regular law enforcement duties, the Pennsylvania State Police provides security for the state's governor and lieutenant governor. Troopers often accompany Fetterman on non-governmental business, including the Fetterman family's annual vacation to the Jersey Shore, according to records obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. The police incurred more than $104,000 in expenses for Fetterman from Aug. 2021 to Aug. 2022. Troopers in March also traveled with Fetterman to a campaign fundraiser to Beverly Hills, according to expense reports. State police incurred $3,076 in flight, hotel, and rental car expenses on the fundraiser, the records show.
The Fetterman campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The endorsement comes amid an effective wave of Republican attacks on Fetterman's positions on criminal justice reform and lingering questions about his health following a near-fatal stroke earlier this year. Republican ads have criticized Fetterman as "dangerously liberal on crime," highlighting his votes as head of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons to free killers serving life sentences for first-degree murder, including one man who killed an 18-year-old for money to buy heroin.
Fetterman has said he wants to use the board as a "bully pulpit" to push progressive reforms to the criminal justice system and boasted that during his tenure the board has freed more prisoners than all of his predecessors combined. Fetterman's lead over Oz has narrowed from 11 points in a Fox News poll in July to just 4 points in a poll this month.
The endorsement is the second this week from a police union for Oz. The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police on Monday threw its support behind Oz, saying Fetterman "has a long history of anti-police rhetoric and advocacy for policies that make communities less safe." The head of the union, John McNesby, criticized Fetterman for his support of Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner (D.), whose left-wing policies have been widely blamed for Philadelphia's surging crime rate. Thirteen Pennsylvania sheriffs in July endorsed Oz over Fetterman, saying Fetterman's crime policies would "add to already rising crime rates in Pennsylvania."
Both as lieutenant governor and on the campaign trail, Fetterman has worked closely with activists who support the movement to defund police, though he has not endorsed the cause himself. Fetterman's appointee for secretary of the Board of Pardons has called to "disarm the police" and referred to cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal as her "friend" and "buddy," the Free Beacon reported. Fetterman campaigned on the anniversary of 9/11 with a pro-abortion activist who supports the defund movement.