According to Collin Deppen from The Incline, Lt. Gov.-elect John Fetterman tried to engage in nepotism and crony politics by trying to strong-arm Braddock Borough Council into appointing his wife—Gisele Fetterman—as Mayor if he were to step down to focus on his statewide campaign.
The story notes that:
Months before John Fetterman was elected Pennsylvania’s next lieutenant governor, he approached Braddock council and offered to resign the mayorship immediately — if they would appoint his wife to the seat on an interim basis.
After Borough Council refused to engage in nepotist-style politics, according to those familiar with the situation, Fetterman became displeased to say the least.
“His reaction? Well, he wasn’t happy,” Borough Manager Deborah Brown recalled of John Fetterman in speaking with The Incline after Tuesday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. “He had pointed out to a couple council people that they were appointed, and if they were appointed, why would they be upset about appointing Gisele” Fetterman? Henderson added, “He didn’t like the fact that things didn’t go his way. I’m not gonna elaborate.”
According to the story, Braddock Borough Council has instead opened the process of selecting an interim Mayor to the public, seeking applications from interested residents.
The revelation of Fetterman’s use of strong-arm politics to create a dynastic mayoral office is in stark contrast to the public profile he tries to put on as a folksy populist working to bring change to Harrisburg, however, it is not surprising.
Fetterman has not been coy about seeing the Lt. Governorship as a means to create a higher profile as he seeks a stepping stone to a 2022 Senate run.
In a November 2017 story in City & State PA, Fetterman admitted his eye was not on serving the people of Pennsylvania, but in serving his own political ambitions:
“Obviously, it’s a backup position to the governor first…but I would also be using it as a bully pulpit for the issues I care a lot about: the forgotten places in Pennsylvania, the opioid crisis,” [Fetterman] said. “But it’s hard to ignore Pat Toomey and what he’s talking about ahead of 2022.”
Given this, it’s no wonder that the Fetterman family is now contemplating what position for Gisele Fetterman will be better for their shared political ambitions: Mayor of Braddock or being a high-profile Second Lady. According to The Incline:
He said no decision has been made [about Gisele being Mayor] but that he and Gisele Fetterman were “talking about her role as [Pennsylvania’s] second lady, which is a bigger platform.” He said they were also asking themselves whether it’s “fair to have a splintered focus,” adding, “That’s all part of our ongoing discussion.” He said the decision remains “totally up to her.”