- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Celebrity physician Dr. Mehmet Oz is laying the groundwork to enter the race for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania as a Republican, according to a published report.

The Washington Free Beacon, citing Republican sources, reported that Dr. Oz has begun hiring staffers and discussing the campaign with potential allies.

Although Dr. Oz has been based in New Jersey, a spokesman told People magazine and the Free Beacon, “Since last year, Dr. Oz has lived and voted in Pennsylvania where he attended school and has deep family ties. Dr. Oz has received encouragement to run for the U.S. Senate, but is currently focused on our show and has no announcement at this time.”

It would be his first bid for public office.

The Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania in 2022 has a crowded field, including Trump-endorsed candidate Sean Parnell, a decorated combat veteran. Among the candidates on the Democratic side is Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

The candidates are vying to replace Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who is retiring, and the race is considered a toss-up.

Third-quarter fundraising totals showed Mr. Parnell with more than $1 million in cash on hand, while Republicans Carla Sands and Jeff Bartos had $3.2 million and $2.2 million, respectively. Mr. Parnell raised more than $1 million without self-funding in the third quarter, far outpacing his rivals in that category.

After earning business and medical degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Oz achieved national prominence with repeated appearances on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, where the host dubbed him “America’s doctor.” He also became a regular on Fox News during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Oz holds dual citizenship in Turkey and the U.S., and served in the Turkish Army in the 1980s.

He has been a professor at Columbia University’s Department of Surgery since 2001.

His long-running “Dr. Oz Show” was renewed last year for a 13th and 14th season, which will keep him on air through the 2022-23 television season, People reported.

A source close to a rival campaign expressed skepticism that Dr. Oz would gain traction in a GOP primary, citing his support of “red-flag” laws that allow courts to confiscate firearms from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.

“Dr. Oz. is a carpetbagging John Kerry donor who isn’t from Pennsylvania and doesn’t even own any property in the state,” this person said on condition of anonymity. “I seriously doubt that Republicans in Pennsylvania will be very interested in voting for a committed liberal like Oz, who has publicly opposed our 2nd Amendment rights, with his diehard support for unconstitutional red flag laws.” 

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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