Light Wave


Unlikely duo? John Fetterman attracts Senate Republicans

By Jake Beardslee · January 23, 2024

In brief…

  • Some Republicans like Tuberville have praised Fetterman.
  • It's unclear if Fetterman will leverage this into an active bipartisan deal-making role as key negotiators like Romney retire.
  • Fetterman hasn't ruled out working with Republicans but also hasn't explicitly said he wants to partner with them more.
  • For now, some Republicans are newly open to potentially partnering with Fetterman on legislation in the future.
Some Senate Republicans are newly open to working with John Fetterman on legislation in light of his recent opposition to Democratic positions on some issues, despite his liberal voting record so far.  DonkeyHotey/Wikimedia

Many Senate Republicans are ready to take a new look at John Fetterman in light of his recent willingness to buck his own party on some issues. Fetterman has shifted politically since joining the Senate, leading some Republicans to view him as someone who they could potentially partner with on legislation, according to Politico.

“It certainly makes it more appealing to want to work with him on things if you see this independent streak,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) of Fetterman’s recent remarks that went against Democratic positions.

No major bipartisan partnerships have formed yet around specific bills. But the mere openness that Republicans are expressing toward Fetterman is notable given his staunchly Democratic voting record so far.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), who frustrated many in his own party by blocking military promotions for months, portrayed Fetterman as someone who “speaks his own mind” and “doesn’t follow the party line.”

With Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) retiring soon, the chamber is losing key bipartisan negotiators. That void could grow if Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) also passes on reelection.