Dr. Mehmet Oz is reportedly “preparing to jump into” the upcoming U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania as a Republican.
The cardiothoracic surgeon who Oprah Winfrey once dubbed “America’s Doctor,” has begun hiring staff and putting out feelers to political allies, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
The Senate seat he may be seeking is currently held by longtime Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who will not seek reelection in the upcoming midterms. Oz would have to beat out embattled GOP candidate and decorated Army veteran Sean Parnell in the primary.
Parnell announced his candidacy in May and has gained the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, but a nasty custody case over his three children had the Afghanistan vet denying accusations of physical and emotional abuse on Monday.
The “Dr. Oz Show” star does not own property in Pennsylvania, and he’s registered to vote in his home state New Jersey, but did earn dual degrees in business and medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in the 1980s.
Oz’s relatively light ties to the state could be an attacking point for opponents, as could snake oil medical cures the 61-year-old has peddled on his show for the last twelve seasons. One “miracle” weight loss product he advertised even resulted in a 2014 congressional inquiry for false advertising.
Senior Republicans are concerned about Oz’s “long trail of issues that would be instant fodder for any Democrat running against him,” which includes his close relationship with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, where he holds dual citizenship, and the doc’s history of campaign contributions to both political parties.
A spokesperson for “The Dr. Oz Show” clarified that the host has lived and voted in Pennsylvania since last year, and has “deep family ties” within the state.
They noted that his attention is on the show, which has been renewed through 2023 for a 13th and 14th season. “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.”