In perhaps one of the closest Senate primary races ever, TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz leads hedge fund boss Dave McCormick by a mere 1100 votes as the race heads into recount mode.
The winner of the aforementioned Pennsylvania Republican primary will face popular Democrat John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, in the general election in November.
All eyes are on Pennsylvania. Who wins there may determine which party controls the U.S. Senate in 2023 and 2024.
With the outcome of the GOP primary in limbo for the next few days or weeks, who should Democrats root for?
Answer: Fetterman matches up better with Dr. Oz than McCormick.
Sure, Democrats as a whole might be on the short end on Election Night but John Fetterman has already proven himself a likable commodity in the commonwealth with the potential to beat anyone. He’s viewed by many as a humble, blue-collar, offbeat fella who lives, breathes, and eats Pennsylvania.
Fetterman isn’t like most politicians; he’s 6’8″, sports a goatee, wears tattoos, is pro-marijuana legalization, and has a penchant for sweatsuits. He’s not a smooth-talker, certainly hasn’t mastered debating, and comes across as a bit awkward at times.
And that’s probably why Pennsylvanians love him. There’s a certain genuineness and charm he exudes.
Oz’s Appeal and Controversies
Dr. Oz, in some ways, is the polar opposite of Fetterman. He’s a political novice yet a polished candidate. As a popular TV personality and high-powered celebrity, he’s a natural in front of the cameras and when hobnobbing with executives.
Will those qualities resonate in blue-collar Pennsylvania?
What won’t resonate with Pennsylvanians is Oz’s ties to the state (or lack thereof) and Turkey. He only moved to the commonwealth in 2021 and maintains dual American-Turkish citizenship. Would the good doctor be impartial on foreign policy matters? Would he have dual loyalties? Coincidentally, Turkey made headlines this week when its president insisted he’d vote against Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
If elected, Oz has said he would renounce his Turkish citizenship. Regardless, his ties to Turkey and newness to Pennsylvania don’t make for a good look.
In addition, despite railing against Big Tech and Big Pharma, records show Dr. Oz has invested millions in both. Disclosures suggest Oz has dumped millions of dollars into companies like Amazon and CVS — actions that contradict his stance in his message to voters.
“I’ve taken on Big Pharma, I’ve gone to battle with Big Tech,” Oz, whose reported worth is believed to be between $100 and $300 Million, said on Fox News in December.
“I cannot be bought.”
Oz’s investments, as well as his ties to Pennsylvania (or lack thereof) and Turkey, will likely be issues in the general election should he win his primary.
Fetterman vs Oz, should it happen, might very well resemble a humble, hardworking native versus a glitzy, high falutin, out-of-towner for the right to represent a blue-collar state in the U.S. Senate.
McCormick’s Impressive Resume
Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick would be a bigger threat to Fetterman than Oz. Although a novice politician, like OZ, he’s originally from Pennsylvania and was raised on a farm there. Moreover, he has high-level connections across government, finance, and politics.
A graduate of the prestigious West Point, McCormick fought in the Gulf War, attained a doctorate from Princeton University, served in senior positions in President George W. Bush’s administration, and is a successful Wall Street CEO.
McCormick insists he was motivated to run after the U.S. exit from Afghanistan, which he called a “real demonstration of incompetence and a lack of accountability for the Biden administration.”
Unlike Fetterman, McCormick has recently lived outside of Pennsylvania for a lengthy time. In fact, he just left his job as CEO of Bridgewater Associates, based in Westport, Connecticut to run for the Senate. Hence, he’d been living in Connecticut since 2009 prior to buying a house in the Pittsburgh area in late 2021 or early 2022.
Perhaps some will contend McCormick isn’t ‘Pennsylvania enough’ but he was raised there and his resume of accomplishments is highly impressive, to say the least.
Pennsylvanians Love Moderate GOP Senators
The Keystone State’s vibe also works in McCormick’s favor. He didn’t receive the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, hasn’t publically subscribed to Trump’s big election lie, and isn’t spewing the all that MAGA rhetoric Republicans have become so accustomed to.
“I don’t know David well, and he may be a nice guy, but he’s not MAGA,” Trump said. “He’s not MAGA. He’s more Toomey than he is MAGA.”
Yes, sir, Mr. Trump. And that might work to his advantage should he continue to the general election. It’s Pennsylvania, not Mississippi.
That stated, in an effort to seemingly connect with Trumpers, McCormick reminded them he was still a Republican:
“We’re sprinting down the home stretch here, and this is an incredibly important primary,” McCormick said earlier this month.
“And yes, I’m running on President Trump’s great ‘America First’ agenda. I think President Trump did a great job for Pennsylvania, and I’m running as the person who’s battle-tested…”
Pennsylvania loves moderate GOP senators. In fact, the seat Fetterman, Oz and McCormick are seeking is being vacated by a moderate Republican in Pat Toomey. And who can forget the late Arlen Specter, another Republican moderate, who held that seat for 30 years prior to Toomey?
John Heinz, also a right-leaning moderate, held Pennsylvania’s other Senate seat for 14 years before being tragically killed in a plane crash in 1991.
Should McCormick become Pennsylvania’s next senator, expect him to be of similar ilk, ideologically, to the above mentions.
If you support John Fetterman, hope that Dr. Oz wins the primary. Regardless of who wins, it’ll be a close race in November. I favor Fetterman over both GOP candidates but McCormick is clearly the bigger threat.