Former President Donald Trump gave his endorsement to Dr. Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania Senate race on Saturday. Oz is one of several candidates running in the Republican primary. The campaigns and supporting political action committees are flooding the state with television, radio and internet ads.
Meanwhile, an EagleView survey came out of the field Saturday afternoon, just hours before Trump endorsed Oz.
That survey of 502 likely Republican primary voters showed Dave McCormick in the lead, with 18.1 percent, followed by Oz at 11 percent. Carla Sands came in at third with 9.2 percent, with Kathy Barnette was fourth at 8.8 percent.
Jeff Bartos finished with 5.8 percent and Sean Gale and George Bochetto were both below 1.5 percent, rounding out the seven-person field. But the poll showed that more than 45 percent of Republicans remain undecided in the race.
“Our GOP poll can serve as a benchmark in the Senate primary, coming as it did just prior to Trump’s endorsement of Dr. Oz,” said Christopher Nicholas, veteran Republican political consultant and president of Eagle Consulting Group. “Despite Oz’s big endorsement, this Senate race still seems like it’s only in the 4th or 5th inning, though it could cause GOP voters to give Oz another look.”
However, many Delaware Valley Republicans had expressed discontent with Trump before the 2020 election and voted for President Joe Biden. Do they agree with Trump’s endorsement now?
The opinions of area Republicans who spoke to the Delaware Valley Journal were mixed, although those who were already leaning toward Oz’s main opponent, former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, were not swayed to support the celebrity doctor.
“I still see McCormick winning,” said Radnor resident Austin Hepburn. “Trump can’t make Oz electable. The endorsement is almost at cross purposes. The people who like Oz are not necessarily Trump’s base. The people who are loyal to Trump understand he has his faults, particularly when it comes to making judgments about people.”
Fred Dascenzo of Newtown agreed with Hepburn.
“I think it’s a mistake,” said Dascenzo. “I don’t believe Dr. Oz is a real conservative. I think, actually, Dave McCormick is a better fit and would have better synergy.”
“The Donald errs when he bases advice on Nielsen ratings instead of constitutional conservatism,” said Philadelphia oncologist Dr. Robert Sklaroff. “The flip-flop on whether Oz would relinquish Turkish citizenship reflects a desperate effort to achieve historical revisionism. Recalling Trump’s premature endorsement of Sean Parnell, it’s hoped the third time will be the charm.”
But Republicans in Oz’s camp see this as a feather in his cap and another reason to back him.
“I went to see Dr. Oz and I liked him. I support Trump and I believe if he believes in Dr. Oz there’s a reason,” said D. J. McGinley, a Skippack resident. Oz is “pro-life, pro-gun and Second Amendment, against the vaccine mandate. I do believe Dr. Oz believes in the American people in the health of everyone. He has been talking about this even before he thought he had to get involved in politics. It’s time for a change. We need to talk about getting healthy and fit as being Americans. And stop the endorsement enforcing people to get vaccinated. Trump deserves his rightful position. I support him. I know there’s controversy with Dr. Oz. However, he’s a heart doctor and if it takes a doctor to stop the madness, I will endorse him. He’s putting his own job on the line.”
Maryann Brown of Warminster agreed.
“I agree with Trump,” she said. “Dr. Oz is smart and tough and he will not let us down! The TV ads for Oz make him the one for the job! My friends and I all voted for Trump and we will vote for Oz. Dr. Oz has a house in Bucks County and he is local.”
Elliott Tessler, a Philadelphia resident, said Trump’s endorsement will help Oz, although he is among the large contingent of undecided voters at the moment.
“The people he’s endorsed have had success,” said Tessler. “Oz was very supportive of Trump. Pennsylvania is ready for change. I’m looking forward to Republican success at the end of the year.”
Wayne resident Leslie Morgan was surprised by Trump’s move.
But, she said Pennsylvania Republicans are “lucky we have such a deep bench” and several “great candidates.” She likes both Oz and McCormick, as well as Montgomery county developer Jeff Bartos, and former ambassador Carla Sands.
“We have a great chance to win the Senate race,” said Morgan. “Dr. Oz is a very telegenic guy. He puts you at ease. I love the idea of a nonpolitician and a doctor who is a solutions-driven candidate.”
She believes bread and butter issues will carry the day with voters.
“People should ask themselves, are they better off today than under the prior administration,” said Morgan. “When we look at our household incomes, we’re paying more for gas and food. Which side of the table do you want to be on? Those that want to create energy independence and increases or those that want more regulation and reliance of foreign oil? Low-interest rates and oil are the mother’s milk of the economy. And Pennsylvania is losing jobs and young workers. We’re the third oldest (in demographics) state.”
“We need leadership and real solutions,” Morgan said.