Sep 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Oz's suburban play

Dr. Oz
Photo: Michael Santiago via Getty Images

SPRINGFIELD, Pa. — Unlike other Trump-endorsed candidates, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz, is squarely focused on wooing suburban voters alienated by the GOP's hard-right swing.

Driving the news: At a town hall Thursday in suburban Philly with former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, he pitched himself as the son of immigrants living the American dream. "Like Nikki with immigrant parents, you have a deep-seated passion for what this country represents and you don't just toss it away," Oz said.

  • Oz told Axios that crime is emerging as a top issue in the race and said his Democratic opponent John Fetterman's policies would "create an environment of lawlessness."
  • On abortion, Oz said: "I'm pro-life with three exceptions: life of the mother, rape and incest. And as a senator, I'd want to make sure that federal government is not involved in interfering with the state's decisions on the topic."

Between the lines: Axios has learned that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce made a $3 million contribution this week to the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund super PAC for the Pennsylvania race.

  • It's a sign of Oz's potential appeal to business-oriented Republicans disillusioned with the GOP's Trumpian turn.
  • "There are many important races this fall, but perhaps none offer a greater contrast than the Pennsylvania Senate race: a choice between a pro-business champion, Dr. Oz, and Lt. Gov. Fetterman, who subscribes to a far-left, government-knows-best approach," said Chamber executive vice president Neil Bradley.

The bottom line: Despite rallying with Trump last weekend, Oz sought this week to pivot away from his MAGA connections.

  • He utilized Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who voted for Trump's impeachment, as a critical surrogate attacking Fetterman over the Democrat's debate resistance — and said he would have voted to certify President Biden's election.
  • "I don't think we have any events planned together," Oz said when I asked if he'll appear again with far-right gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano.
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