Ms. Brodie cast her early vote for Mr. Fetterman. “He doesn’t look like someone who walked out of an Ivy League school,” she said. “He’s going to connect with different kinds of voters.”
During a recent debate, Mr. Lamb that he knew how swinging voters thought about many issues. “They are looking for stability and prudence in their leadership,” he said.
But that message, with its echoes of Mr Biden’s 2020 campaign, may be outdated.
Brendan McPhillips, who led the Biden campaign in Pennsylvania, said Democratic voters are looking for something else: candidates committed to fighting a Republican party they believe is swinging dangerously to the right. While both Mr. Lamb as Mr. Fetterman’s support for eliminating the Senate filibuster to push through Democratic priorities, Mr. Fetterman has gone on to be a frequent target of Mr. Manchin, the Democrat who blocked filibuster reform.
Mr. McPhillips said caution sent the wrong message to the Democratic base today. “The stakes couldn’t be higher,” he said. “We are running into literal fascists. We need to look for bolder ideas.”
From the start, Mr. Lamb did not compete with Mr. Fetterman to a national cohort of small online donors. After the first TV ads launched in March, the Lamb campaign was forced to take them off the air for almost the entirety of April, a pivotal month when voters tuned in to the race. The campaign returned to TV in late April, and by the first week of May, $543,600 was spent on advertising in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, according to AdImpact, an ad tracking company.
Mr. Fetterman’s TV ads have been running continuously since March. He spent $537,000 in the first week of May to reach the state’s two major cities, as well as Wilkes-Barre and Harrisburg.
Some strategists said that Mr. Lamb mr. Fetterman should have attacked aggressively in his advertisements – especially following a 2013 incident when Mr. Fetterman, mayor of the city of Braddock at the time, brandished a shotgun to stop an unarmed black jogger.