Although Dr. Mehmet Oz won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate candidacy in May, the current senator, Pat Toomey, just endorsed him this week.
Toomey, a thoughtful politician, and quintessential Pennsylvania Republican moderate, is retiring at the end of this term.
“Dr. Oz is a strong Republican candidate whose platform includes fixing our economic woes, restoring America’s energy independence, and stopping illegal immigration,” Toomey said Wednesday. “I support his candidacy and look forward to being helpful to him in the upcoming election.”
Naturally, the Oz campaign embraced the sitting senator’s support.
“Dr. Oz welcomes and appreciates Sen. Toomey’s support,” said Brittany Yanick, a campaign spokeswoman.
But whether the endorsement makes a difference remains to be seen.
“I don’t think it’s that impactful,” said Jeff Jubelirer, a vice president with Bellevue Communications Group. “Toomey, as a lame duck senator as well as one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, is not as well-liked by the GOP electorate in Pennsylvania as he once was. It would have been a surprise if he didn’t endorse Oz and it may be a bigger deal if he decides not to endorse Mastriano.”
Toomey had no comment on Wednesday regarding state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican running for governor.
“We are seeing a further consolidation of the Republican Party after a bruising primary in the Pennsylvania Senate race,” said Charlie O’Neill, a Republican consultant. “I anticipate many more Republicans – and some Democrats – will continue to support Dr. Oz through endorsements and campaign contributions.”
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Oz’s Democratic opponent, was endorsed by Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. on May 17 after he won his primary.
“Tonight, I’m proud to endorse my friend, Lt. Governor John Fetterman, to represent Pennsylvania alongside me in the U.S. Senate. Among a talented, experienced field of candidates, Pennsylvania Democrats chose John to help defend and expand the Senate majority,” Casey wrote on Twitter.
Republicans are hoping Toomey’s endorsement gives Oz a much-needed boost. The celebrity doctor has fallen behind Fetterman in fundraising and is also lagging in the polls.
The Inquirer reports Fetterman raised $8.3 million in the 44 days from the primary to June 30, a record for U.S. Senate candidates. And he did it while suffering the effects of a stroke suffered days before the primary.
Despite that, Fetterman took in $8.3 million in the 44 days from the primary to June 30—more than the state’s incumbent senators have ever raised in an entire three-month reporting period. It was more than triple what he raised in a similar time frame leading up to the primary.
Oz has already spent more than $14 million of his own money. His campaign says he has been traveling around the state engaging in retail politics.