Things Are Not Going Well for Dr. Oz

Pennsylvania Senate candidate trails Fetterman in the polls and in fundraising
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2022 1:40 PM CDT
Updated Jul 31, 2022 4:25 PM CDT
Things Are Not Going Well for Dr. Oz
Mehmet Oz, Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, speaks at a primary night election gathering in Newtown, Pa., May 17, 2022.   (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

It's a question on the minds of political observers from both parties: "What the Hell Is Going on With Dr. Oz.'s Senate Campaign?" asks the headline in a post at New York by Nia Prater. And it appears that not much good is going on at the moment. Republican Mehmet Oz, the famed TV doctor, is going up against Democrat John Fetterman for Pennsylvania's crucial Senate seat in November. The latest:

  • Polls: Fetterman leads by 11 points, 47-36, in a new Fox News poll.
  • Trouble signs: The poll suggests Republicans in the state are not wowed by Oz, with only 35% supporting him enthusiastically, compared to the 68% of Democrats who back Fetterman strongly. Similarly, fewer Republicans are staying loyal to Oz (73%) than Democrats to Fetterman (89%), per Fox.
  • Money: Fetterman is outraising Oz by a wide margin. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Democrat collected $11 million in the last three months, while Oz brought in $3.8 million—more than half of which was a loan to himself.

  • Dueling weaknesses: The race has a shorthand to it. Fetterman is depicting Oz as a carpetbagger who is more of a New Jersey guy than a Pennsylvanian. When Oz recently visited two famous cheesesteak shops in Philly, a Fetterman joke went viral: "Ah yes, the trip to Pats + Geno's -- a rite of passage for every tourist," he tweeted. Fetterman, though, has a liability of his own: He suffered a stroke in May and hasn't fully resumed campaigning yet. However, the Fox poll finds that more people are worried about Oz's unfamiliarity with the state (52%) than Fetterman's health (23%).

  • A vacation? Another big issue is that Oz was largely absent from the campaign trail for weeks. Tara Palmeri writes in Puck that Oz spent time relaxing in Palm Beach after his GOP primary race until about June 9, then flew to Ireland and perhaps elsewhere in Europe to visit family until early July. "That, apparently, was one vacation too many," writes Palmeri. "Indeed, it was a move that greatly annoyed the National Republican Senatorial Committee." The committee is not commenting.
  • Scathing quote: The Fox News story includes a devastating quote from GOP pollster Daron Shaw. "Pennsylvania is patient-zero for the talking point that Republicans could lose the Senate by nominating flawed candidates," he says. "The mood is negative, the president’s ratings are poor, and issue environment favors the GOP, but their candidate is chasing 10 points because Republicans aren't sure he’s capable."
(More John Fetterman stories.)

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