Oprah's favorite medical guest is running as a Republican? WTF!
She's not going to like that!
Dr. Oz Says He’s Running for Senate in Pennsylvania
Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is running as a Republican for an open Senate seat, described his frustration with the “arrogant, closed-minded people in charge” who shut schools and businesses during the pandemic.
Dr. Mehmet Oz said he decided to run for Senate because of his concern about the handling of the pandemic.Credit
By Trip Gabriel
Nov. 30, 2021
Dr. Mehmet Oz, a celebrity physician known as the host of the “Dr. Oz Show,” announced on Tuesday that he would run for Senate in Pennsylvania, jumping into a crowded Republican primary for an open seat that is crucial to both parties’ quest for a Senate majority in 2022.
Dr. Oz, a first-time candidate whose political views are little known, entered a G.O.P. field roiled by the recent withdrawal of a candidate endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump, in which most contenders are vying to show their loyalty to the Republican Party’s de facto leader.
The Cleveland-born son of Turkish immigrants, Dr. Oz said he had been motivated to run because of the pandemic. In an online statement announcing his candidacy in The Washington Examiner, he criticized official responses to Covid-19 in terms embraced by conservatives.
The pandemic, he wrote, has been mishandled by “elites” who stifled dissenting opinions, “mandated” policies and “closed our parks, shuttered our schools, shut down our businesses and took away our freedom.”
Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, was under attack through much of 2020 by Republicans for orders closing businesses during the height of the pandemic.
Dr. Oz, 61, is a heart surgeon who first came to the public’s attention as a regular guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” before starting his own long-running daytime show, where he dispenses medical advice on all subjects. He has also appeared regularly on Fox News discussing Covid-19, sometimes making controversial statements.
In April 2020, citing a medical journal, he said that opening schools “may only cost us 2 to 3 percent in terms of total mortality” of the population. After a backlash, he took to Twitter to say he “misspoke.”
The previous month, Dr. Oz promoted hydroxychloroquine to fight the coronavirus, even though researchers at the time warned that the drug was unproven.
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Dr. Oz first came to the public’s attention as a regular guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Dr. Oz first came to the public’s attention as a regular guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”Credit...George Burns/Harpo Productions, via Associated Press
In 2014, he was scolded before a Senate panel for using his TV show to promote foods and dietary supplements that falsely promised weight loss.
Republicans in Pennsylvania expected that the entry of such a high-profile figure into the Senate race, one who is promising to spend large sums of his own fortune, would shake up a field without a front-runner. It follows the recent withdrawal of Sean Parnell, the Trump-endorsed candidate, who suspended his campaign after a judge gave primary custody of his children to his estranged wife, who had accused him of abuse.
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A number of Republican officials, whom Dr. Oz has been calling in recent weeks, said they thought voters would take the celebrity physician seriously.
“The first thing I asked was, ‘Why are you running? Is this a vanity play?’” said Sam DeMarco III, the Republican chairman of Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh. But he said he was impressed with Dr. Oz’s seriousness in response to his questions. “My most important goal is to keep this seat in Republican hands come 2022, and I believe Dr. Oz’s entry into the race gives us a significant opportunity to do that,” Mr. DeMarco said.
For Democrats, Pennsylvania represents perhaps their best chance to add a Senate seat to their column, since it is the only open seat next year in a state that President Biden carried in 2020. Senator Patrick J. Toomey, a Republican, is not seeking re-election.
While the Democratic field has several seasoned candidates, including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Representative Conor Lamb, the Republicans in the race are less experienced and, with the exception of Dr. Oz, less well known.
Most have leaned into their connections to Mr. Trump to win favor with a party base that fervidly supports the former president, including his false claims that he won the state last year. Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer, has called for a “full forensic audit” of the 2020 election in the state. Kathy Barnette, a former financial executive, has pushed claims of voter fraud on Newsmax and OAN. David McCormick, the chief executive of Bridgewater Associates, a giant hedge fund company, has been exploring getting into the race as well.
Dr. Oz, who hosted Mr. Trump on his TV show in 2016 and was later named by him to a White House advisory council on sports and nutrition, is not known for denying the 2020 election results. He once described himself as a “moderate Republican” and said a political inspiration was Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California and a Trump critic.
But in his statement announcing his run on Tuesday, Dr. Oz positioned himself more aggressively as a foe of elites and as someone who has “fought the establishment” throughout his career.
“Elites with yards told those without yards to stay inside, where the virus was more likely to spread,” he wrote of the response to the pandemic, adding, “We must confront those who want to change the very soul of America and reimagine it with their toxic ideology.”
A surgeon at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, his biographical entry there lists his Emmy Awards ahead of his publications.
Dr. Oz earned medical and business degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. His principal residence, however, has long been in Bergen County in New Jersey, where he voted. He has also become a registered Pennsylvania voter, listing an address that is a home owned by his mother-in-law in Montgomery County, in the Philadelphia suburbs. Although rivals will surely accuse him of carpetbagging, one local Republican official said the issue may not play strongly with voters.
“Being a newcomer, I don’t think that’s a drawback,” said Pat Poprik, the Republican chairwoman of Bucks County, the state’s fourth largest. “Issues are what voters are looking for.”