Mehmet Oz, the celebrity physician and Trump-backed Republican Senate nominee in Pennsylvania, said on Tuesday that he would have voted to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election had he been in office at the time.
Asked at a press conference if he would have objected to the certification of the election results, Oz said that it is the job of the Senate to approve the Electoral College vote and that, had he been in the Senate at the time, he would have done so.
“I would not have objected to it,” Oz said. “By the time the delegates and those reports were sent to the U.S. Senate, our job was to approve it, which is what I would have done.”
While Oz’s latest remarks could help him counter Democratic attacks and appeal to a broader slice of the electorate, it also puts him at risk of alienating former President Trump and some of the Republican Party’s most loyal voters.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him and pushed lawmakers last year to object to the certification of the election results. The certification process on Jan. 6, 2021 was disrupted when a mob of the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. That riot is now the subject of a congressional investigation.
Oz, who was endorsed by Trump shortly before Pennsylvania’s primary election earlier this year, narrowly clinched the nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). He’s facing Pennsylvania Lt. Gov John Fetterman (D) in the general election in November.
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Recent polling shows him trailing Fetterman, fueling Republican concerns that they could lose one of the most sought-after Senate seats of the 2022 midterm election cycle.
A survey from Emerson College released last month found Fetterman leading Oz by 5 percentage points, while an earlier Franklin & Marshall College poll showed Oz trailing by 13 points.