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In a Republican Party still dominated by Donald Trump, candidates who win the former president’s endorsement tend to flout him.
And that’s exactly what Mehmet Oz is doing in the crowded, explosive and expensive Pennsylvania Senate GOP primary.
“I supported another person today. Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania,” Trump says in a clip from his Saturday night rally in North Carolina, which appears at the top of a new Oz campaign ad.
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“Trump calls Dr. Oz ‘smart, tough and someone who will never let us down.’ Trump endorsed. The conservative fighter Pennsylvania needs,” the narrator says in the spot. The Oz campaign told Fox News that she plans to spend $1 million to take the ad statewide starting Tuesday.
With only five weeks left until the May 17 primary in Pennsylvania, the former president’s endorsement of Oz last weekend rocked the race and seemingly divided those in orbit. Trump’s policy.
Oz, the heart surgeon, author and celebrity doctor who, until launching his Senate campaign late last year, was the host of the popular “Dr. Oz Show” on television, has worked hard to get Trump’s approval. But Oz’s main rival in the GOP primary, David McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, West Point graduate, Gulf War veteran and Treasury Department official in former President George’s administration W. Bush, did the same.
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Both McCormick and Oz have ties to Trump, with former top White House and Trump presidential campaign officials endorsing or serving as advisers to both candidates. McCormick has another connection: his wife, Dina Powell McCormick, served as deputy national security adviser in the Trump administration. McCormick met with Trump at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida last Wednesday to make his point.
But Oz and his wife had dined with Trump and former first lady Melania Trump a few times over the past few months and talked often. Sources close to Trump’s world say the former first lady’s perceived preference for Oz may have been one of the deciding factors in Trump’s endorsement of the famous doctor.
McCormick and Oz are the two polling favorites in the primary race and have vastly outpaced other candidates to air ads in the key state as they battle to win the Republican primary in the battle to succeed the U.S. senator. Retired GOP Pat Toomey. The eventual Republican nominee will run in a crucial general election contest that is one of the few that could determine whether the GOP regains a majority in the Senate.
The two candidates have traded fire for months over a host of issues, including who is tougher or softer on China, accusations that McCormick outsourced jobs to Pennsylvania, Oz’s dual citizenship in Turkey and, more recently, hydraulic fracturing. And outside groups supporting each candidate have spent tens of millions of dollars in recent months running attack ads against McCormick and Oz in a race that has become the nation’s most expensive Senate showdown.
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Narrator of new Oz ad accuses “Trump of endorsing Dr. Oz for Senate because Trump knows who the real conservative is who’s going to rock Washington. It’s not David McCormick, the liberal, pro-Biden , pro-China, Wall Street Insider.”
McCormick’s campaign consultant, Kristin Davison, responding to Oz’s ad, said “of course Mehmet Oz has to keep hitting Dave with lies. Oz’s numbers are so anemic he’s beyond repair. Pennsylvanians have heard in Oz Oz’s own words that he loves working in China, loves Hillary Clinton, doesn’t support fracking, the 2nd Amendment or the pro-life movement.”
The campaign reinforced their jabs at Oz with a new ad launched Monday in which the narrator accuses Oz of being “a complete and utter fraud.”
The spot uses old clips from Oz praising Hillary Clinton as “one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.” And Oz is also seen complimenting Dr. Anthony Fauci – President Biden’s chief medical adviser and a figure who has been repeatedly vilified by many conservatives for his words and actions during the coronavirus pandemic – as “a very discipline. He’s a wonderful scientist. “
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Oz is also seen in the McCormick commercial saying in old clips that ‘we need to work with China’ and ‘I love working in China’, as well as asking ‘how do we keep guns out of the wrong person’s hands? ?”
McCormick’s team says it’s spending six figures to get the new ad out across the state of Pennsylvania. While a pro-McCormick super PAC has repeatedly questioned Oz’s conservative credentials in numerous ads, this is the first negative of the McCormick campaign.
But McCormick’s team say the new ad isn’t a change of strategy and point out that they’ve repeatedly emphasized that Oz is what they characterize as “a Hollywood liberal who didn’t say the word truth about what he believes”.
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Oz campaign spokeswoman Brittany Yanick, responding to McCormick’s new ad, told Fox News that “Dr. Oz has called for the firing of Anthony Fauci for the draconian lockdowns and mandates that have hurt so many Pennsylvanians. Hillary Clinton has proven herself to be one of the most crooked politicians over time.”
And Yanick claimed that “liberal Wall Street insider David McCormick can’t defend his attacks on President Trump and defense of communist China, so he’s resorting to lying about the Dr. Oz dossier with these clips. selectively edited Dr. Oz’s show has been a hit on the health platform for 13 seasons where he has welcomed open and honest conversations and opinions from everyone who has appeared on his show – that doesn’t mean that he shares the same beliefs and opinions as everyone else on his show.”
McCormick on Tuesday night teamed up with former Republican Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at a campaign event in the southeastern part of the state. The former conservative lawmaker and two-time GOP presidential candidate — who remains influential with the right in Pennsylvania — last week endorsed McCormick.
Trump’s endorsement of Oz was his second in the race. But the candidate the former president backed last year, Sean Parnell, ended his candidacy in November immediately after losing a bitter custody battle over his three children to his estranged wife, who, in court testimony, had accused Parnell of abuse. Parnell, an Army veteran who fought in the Afghanistan War, endorsed McCormick in January, as Fox News first reported.
Parnell, responding to Trump’s endorsement of Oz, tweeted: “I have huge respect for President Trump. I was honored to have his endorsement in PA. Twice but disappointed with it. Oz is the antithesis of everything that made Trump the best president of my life – he’s the farthest from America First and he would be terrible for PA.”
A big question going forward is whether Trump will hold a rally with Oz in Pennsylvania ahead of the May 17 primary. A spokesperson for the former president had no comment for Fox News regarding potential upcoming Keystone State events.
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McCormick and Oz are part of a GOP field of eight contenders that also includes Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer, philanthropist and 2018 Republican nominee for lieutenant governor; veteran and conservative political commentator Kathy Barnette; and Carla Sands, a real estate executive and major Republican donor who served as ambassador to Denmark during the Trump administration.
Lt. Governor John Fetterman is the polling favorite in the Democratic Senate primary, in a race that also includes Rep. Conor Lamb and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.