John Fetterman Is Outwitting Dr. Oz, and Oz Is to Blame: GOP Operative

  • dr. Mehmet Oz, a first-time candidate, is trailing his Democratic opponent in Pennsylvania.
  • A GOP strategist says “it might be an even fight” — if Oz was actually involved in the Senate race.
  • Recent reports have Oz summer vacationing, while Fetterman has been convalescing since May.

Political neophyte Dr. Mehmet Oz might have a decent shot at keeping Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat row if he bothered to do the work, a GOP strategist said of the vacationing, Trump-backed candidate who is trailing Democratic rival John Fetterman.

“If Oz wasn’t mentally and physically on vacation, it might be an even fight,” said Keith Naughton, a Republican strategist turned cofounder of the political consulting firm Silent Majority Strategies, told The Hill about the pivotal contest to replace the retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey and possibly tip the balance of power in the 50-50 Senate. And embattled former President Donald Trump is fuming about Oz running “a terrible campaign,” Radar Online reported.

Brittany Yanick, an Oz campaign spokesperson, countered the criticism by mapping out how busy her boss has been in recent weeks. “Since winning the primary, Dr. Oz has made over 120 campaign stops,” she told Insider, adding that he’s logged almost 2,500 miles while “crisscrossing the state to speak with voters in all four corners of the Commonwealth.”

Recent polling has Trump-backed Oz behind by between 8.3 points or 11 points, reported FiveThirtyEight and Fox News, respectively.

Naughton attributed some of the lead to Fetterman’s success needling Oz online about topics such as his reality TV career and where Oz lays his head down at night.

“Fetterman’s Twitter assault has worked mostly because it is unopposed,” Naughton said, adding that Democrats’ digs about Oz being a carpetbagger work because “Pennsylvania is a very parochial state, so the ‘outsider’ argument is always powerful.”

Oz hasn’t helped himself on that front, even flubbing the name of the Keystone State town where he’s claimed residency. Puck News also reported that the former TV star was bopping around Palm Beach, Florida, and parts of Europe recently — even as a GOP primary recount was underway.

Oz took a page from Trump’s pandemic-related attacks on Joe Biden in 2020, blasting out daily “basement tracker” emails questioning why Fetterman hasn’t been on the campaign trail lately.

Fetterman, who has remained largely out of public view since having a stroke in mid-May, returned to the private fundraiser circuit in late July, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Fetterman’s prolonged absence allows him to escape intense media scrutiny, Yanick said.

“He has stayed hidden in his basement, defending his radical policies, like releasing one-third of the prison population and eliminating life sentences for violent murderers, from behind the safety of a keyboard,” she wrote in an email. “Pennsylvanians deserve a senator who will show up and stand up for them.”

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