Commonly known as Dr. Oz on his daytime television program, Oz entered Pennsylvania’s Senate race on Nov. 30, just a short time after former frontrunner Sean Parnell dropped out.
Oz has already been criticized by some for carpetbagging, as his primary residence is likely still in New Jersey just outside of New York City, even though he changed his voting registration in late 2020 to his in-laws' address in Montgomery County. Others have called him out for not offering specifics about how he will improve the Keystone State, or barely mentioning the word "Pennsylvania" at all. His campaign announcement video mostly spoke about a “divine spark.”
Oz's short video posted to social media on Dec. 13 had Oz on the North Side with Downtown Pittsburgh in the background, and it has not silenced those critics.
“I love, love being in Pittsburgh,” said Oz in a video posted to Twitter. “Now people think I come here for the food, and I do like beer and sandwiches, but it’s the food for thought that I really came to Pittsburgh for. I love hearing ideas, I get so optimistic when I hear so many insights that can empower all of us. I am gonna hear a lot of them today.”
Several people on social media replied to Oz, referencing his New Jersey residence, and mocking him for boiling down Pittsburgh cuisine to “beer and sandwiches.”
It's great to be in Pittsburgh today! pic.twitter.com/sw1Dk1yIl0— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) December 13, 2021
No matter how some Pittsburgh social media users feel about Oz, the surgeon and media personality has some strong backing, according to a recent poll. Democratic Senate candidate and Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman had his pollster Data for Progress run a poll on a potential match-up between Fetterman and Oz in a general election. In that poll, Fetterman was only up 44-42 percent, with Oz having a big lead among non-college educated residents, and Fetterman with a slight edge among independents.
Oz also has a significant personal fortune to fund his campaign, and a massive following thanks to the popularity of his TV show, which is ending next month. He hosted the Dr. Oz daytime TV show for 13 seasons, and has a history of Republican advocacy. But that popularity has also attracted controversy.
In 2014, Oz was called in front of Congress and accused of playing a role in a scam involving dubious weight-loss products. Oz denied these allegations. Then Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said during the 2014 hearing that the “scientific community is almost monolithically against” Oz. He also has a history of purporting false and unproven medical claims on his show. He advised former President Donald Trump on health-related issues during his term.