(WHTM) — The biggest name yet has joined Pa.’s very crowded U.S. Senate Race.
A TV star and lightning rod for controversy is seeking a big elected office. Dr. Mehmet Oz is in the race for Pat Toomey’s open senate seat, even though he’s never lived in the Commonwealth.
“Pennsylvania needs a conservative who will put America first, one who can reignite our divine spark, bravely fight for freedom and tell it like it is,” Oz said in his announcement video.
Oz has lived for years in New Jersey but recently registered to vote at his wife’s parents’ house outside Philadelphia.
“He’s gonna have to transform himself from a new jersey resident who votes absentee in Pennsylvania from his in-laws’ house into an actual Pennsylvanian that should be interesting,” said Shelly Lyons Communications’ Danielle Gross.
But Oz enters a crowded field of Republicans who’ve been stumping for months.
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“I guess I would put him in the top tier because he has some name recognition and some personal wealth to put in it but that doesn’t always translate,” said Eagle Consulting’s Chris Nicholas.
Democrat Val Arkoosh was the first doctor into the race, trying to become the first woman U.S. Senator from Pa.
“We’ve seen what happens when TV personalities gain power in Washington and Dr. Oz is the last thing we need when our Commonwealth faces real challenges,” she said in a statement.
Arkoosh, a Montgomery County Commissioner, also added she’s a leader and “not a TV personality who has peddled fake diet pills for-profit and pushed unproven COVID-19 treatments.”
It’s unclear if the 61-year-old Oz will court Donald Trump and his MAGA supporters. The former president endorsed Sean Parnell, who’s since dropped out after losing a messy child custody case.
“There’s certainly a void there and more importantly there’s now no western Pennsylvania candidate in the race,” Nicholas said.
The U.S. Constitution only requires that a U.S. Senator resides in the state at the time of their election, no one- or two-year residency requirement or homeownership necessary.