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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
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TV host Dr. Oz to enter Senate race in Pennsylvania

The celebrity doctor says he will seek the Republican nomination to fill an empty U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

(CN) — Celebrity heart surgeon and TV personality Mehmet Oz announced plans Tuesday to run for Senate in Pennsylvania.

“I’m running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania because America needs a Conservative Republican to cure what’s wrong with Washington,” Oz said in a tweet. “I’m a world-class surgeon, fighter, and health care advocate stepping forward to cure our country’s ills.”

The physician, best known as the host of the daytime talk show “The Dr. Oz Show,” is expected to enter a crowded and highly competitive Republican primary.

Several GOP candidates are aiming to fill a seat left open by retiring Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, now that a leading candidate is out of the running.

Sean Parnell was once seen as a top GOP contender for Toomey's seat in the key battleground state. But Parnell, who had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, announced his intention to suspend his campaign last week after losing custody of his children via a court order that said he was abusive towards his wife in the past.

Trump narrowly won the swing state in 2016, but Pennsylvania voters gave President Joe Biden a narrow 1 percentage point victory last year. 

“Pennsylvania needs a conservative who will put America first, one who could reignite our divine spark,” Oz said in a video released Tuesday.

The phrase “America first” and Oz’s promise to “tell it like it is” evokes messaging similar to that used by Trump during his presidential campaigns.

In an op-ed published in the conservative Washington Examiner on Tuesday, Oz commended Trump for overseeing the development of Covid-19 vaccines through Operation Warp Speed.

He added that “many great ideas were squashed” during that time, blaming “elites” for mishandling the pandemic response.

Born in Cleveland to his parents who are Turkish immigrants, Oz has resided in New Jersey for the past 20 years.

He started to vote in Pennsylvania’s elections this year through an absentee ballot registered to his wife’s parents’ address near Philadelphia. Oz’s campaign website lists his home as Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, where his in-laws live.

Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey's 9th District released a statement sarcastically congratulating Oz on his Senate campaign.

“I want to congratulate my North Jersey constituent Dr. Oz on his run for US Senate in Pennsylvania,” Pascrell said in a tweet. "I’m sure this fully genuine candidacy will capture the hearts of Pennsylvanians.” 

Democratic candidates for the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat have also expressed dismay toward Oz’s announcement, including Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Dr. Val Arkoosh.

Arkoosh says she is “the real doctor” who is eyeing the seat.

“We’ve seen what happens when TV personalities gain power & @DrOz is the last thing we need when we face real challenges," she said in a statement on Twitter

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Categories / Entertainment, Government, Politics, Regional

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