Known best for hosting ‘Dr. Oz Show,’ celebrity doctor expected to enter Pa. U.S. Senate race

The 61-year-old, a longtime New Jersey resident, will appear on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Tuesday night

By: - November 30, 2021 3:24 pm

(Capital-Star file)

The already crowded race to fill Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2022 is expected to add one more candidate to the mix.

Known best for hosting “The Dr. Oz Show,” celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, popularly known as “Dr. Oz,” plans to officially announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate this week. Rumors of Oz entering the race began circulating this month, and multiple media reports confirm his intentions this week.

In a column published by the Washington Examiner on Tuesday, Oz outlined why he wants to fill the seat left vacant by Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, who is not seeking reelection, saying: “We have not managed our crises as effectively as past generations.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic as the centerpiece for his column, Oz said the coronavirus “became an excuse for the government and elite thinkers who controlled the means of communication to suspend debate.” He blasted government mandates and statewide shutdowns, arguing that the mitigation efforts “took away our freedom.”

“America should have been the world leader on how to beat the pandemic,” he wrote. “Although we had some moments of brilliance, such as the gift to the world of mRNA vaccines made possible by President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, many great ideas were squashed. That’s not the America my parents came to. That’s not the one I grew up in. That’s not the one I want to leave behind.”

The 61-year-old, a longtime New Jersey resident, will appear on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Tuesday night. Hannity teased the interview Monday by saying: “He has a huge announcement. Hint: Think midterm election.”

A spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon, which first reported Oz’s potential candidacy, that he has lived and voted in Pennsylvania and has “deep family ties.” 

The spokesperson, who said there was no campaign announcement at the time, added that Oz “has received some encouragement to run for the U.S. Senate.” Earlier this month, Politico reported that Oz was working to hire a scheduler and policy director and looking for a home in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Before voting in Pennsylvania elections by absentee ballot this year, Oz had lived in New Jersey for the last 20 years. Voter registration records show that his voting address is the same as his in-laws’ who live in Montgomery County. His entrance to the race would come one week after GOP hopeful Sean Parnell suspended his campaign after losing a publicly-waged custody war with his wife over their three children. Parnell had the backing of former President Donald Trump.

So far, a handful of Democrats have entered the race, including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, of Philadelphia, Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, who represents the 17th District.

Oz, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, would join Montgomery County real estate developer Jeff Bartos, former Trump administration Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands, and commentator Kathy Barnette among those vying for the Republican nomination.

Though he’ll bring name recognition and wealth to the campaign, Oz will likely face speculation over his residency and controversial medical advice.

In a Tuesday statement, Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Jack Doyle said the Republican Senate primary “continues to descend into chaos,” calling Oz’s campaign the “latest example.”

He added: “It’s clear this GOP Senate primary will get nastier, more expensive — and whichever Republican candidate ultimately limps out of this intra-party fight will be deeply out of step with the Pennsylvania voters who will decide the general election.”

Arkoosh, also a doctor, blasted his potential campaign on Monday, writing on Twitter that Oz “pushed unproven COVID treatments and peddled fake diet pills for profit.”

“We’ve seen what happens when TV personalities gain power in Washington and Dr. Oz is the last thing we need when our commonwealth faces real challenges — challenges like getting past COVID-19, helping folks get back to work, and tackling the climate crisis,” Arkoosh said in a statement.

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