Dr Oz backs away from Trump support after GOP primary win

Trump-endorsed candidate vocally touted ex-president’s support in primary

John Bowden
Wednesday 22 June 2022 22:00
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'Great guy': Trump endorses Dr Mehmet Oz in Republican primary for Senate race

Pennsylvania Senate candiate Mehmet Oz is making a strong pivot towards a centrist electorate as he hurtles towards a general election showdown with the state’s lieutenant governor in November.

The celebrity TV doc better known as “Dr Oz” has removed any mention of former president Donald Trump from his Twitter bio, background image, campaign website splash page, and even recent advertisements, following a primary campaign that relied heavily on his endorsement from the 45th president. The changes were first reported on Wednesday by Axios.

Dr Oz faces an uphill battle to winning Pennylvania’s open US Senate seat, currently held by retiring Republican Pat Toomey, in November. Recent polling of the race shows him trailing Lt Gov John Fetterman by double digits while Mr Fetterman has more recently begun to batter his GOP opponent with the revelation that Dr Oz was voting in New Jersey as recently as 2020.

The state’s Republican primary turned into a race to the far right with the three leading candidates all seeking Trump’s endorsement; that dynamic will pose a challenge for the GOP as they hope to see Dr Oz take a Senate seat currently held by Mr Toomey, who himself has established a much different reputation as a centrist and dealmaker in Washington.

He has unsuccessfully attempted to paint Mr Fetterman as a far-left socialist, mirroring a tactic that failed to produce results for the lieutenant governor’s centrist challenger Conor Lamb in the state’s Democratic senatorial primary.

The Independent has reached out to the Oz campaign for a statement on the clear messaging shift; a spokesperson previously noted to Axios that the candidate’s Trump endorsement still features prominently on the endorsements page on his campaign website, though that could hardly be called the most prominent public face of his campaign.

Pennsylvania in general remains a true battleground state in many regards after it went for Trump in 2016 but flipped back blue in 2020; the state’s other senator is a Democrat, Bob Casey, who largely votes in line with the rest of his party’s caucus in the upper chamber.

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