Mehmet Oz, the celebrity physician best known as the host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” is jumping into the Senate race in Pennsylvania as a Republican. 

“We are angry at our government and at each other,” Oz wrote in an op-ed published by the Washington Examiner on Tuesday. 

“We have not managed our crises as effectively as past generations. During the pandemic, I learned that when you mix politics and medicine, you get politics instead of solutions. That’s why I am running for the U.S. Senate: to help fix the problems and to help us heal.”

Oz begins his campaign with broad name recognition earned over a years-long television career, a valuable asset in an otherwise crowded and contentious Republican primary field. 

He also enters the race at a particularly fluid moment in the GOP nominating contest. Republican Sean Parnell, whose Senate bid in Pennsylvania had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, suspended his campaign last week after facing allegations of spousal abuse and losing a child custody battle to his estranged wife.

The race to succeed retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is among the most competitive Senate contests of the 2022 midterm election cycle. Democrats see it as perhaps their best opportunity to expand their razor-thin Senate majority next year, despite facing strong historical headwinds in the midterms.

Oz is a largely untested candidate, having never run for public office before. He’s also lived in New Jersey for years and only registered to vote in Pennsylvania last year, a fact that is likely to raise questions about his campaign.

Still, there’s no clear frontrunner in the race for the GOP nod, giving Oz a chance to make his case to voters ahead of the primary next year. Other Republicans vying for the party’s nomination include real estate developer Jeff Bartos and former Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands. 

More than half a dozen Democrats are also seeking their party’s nomination to succeed Toomey, including Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Rep. Conor Lamb (Pa.), state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Val Arkoosh, the chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

Tags 2022 midterms Carla Sands Conor Lamb Donald Trump Dr. Oz Jeff Bartos John Fetterman Malcolm Kenyatta Mehmet Oz Pat Toomey Pennsylvania politics Pennsylvania Senate race Sean Parnell Val Arkoosh

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