Last Updated on April 10, 2022
Former President Donald Trump has announced his potentially crucial endorsement in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary. After much speculation, Trump has endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz, who has hosted numerous successful television programs. Oz is currently locked in a tight primary race with former Bush cabinet member David McCormick, who most recently served as CEO of Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds.
Dr. Oz announced his candidacy for the wide-open race this past December. Pennsylvania Republicans had more or less coalesced around U.S. Army veteran and former House candidate Sean Parnell, but Parnell was forced to suspend his campaign after losing custody of his children. Parnell’s ex-wife has accused him of being abusive, which he denies, but the GOP favorite was ultimately forced to bow out in order to address the matter.
This opened the door for Dr. Oz, who has a long-standing-ties with former President Trump. Oz has come under fire for his past statements, which include numerous leftist talking points. Oz has previously decried “systemic racism” in public health and endorsed red flag laws. He has walked back these positions, however, and has told voters that he will vote for a conservative agenda.
Oz currently trails former Bush cabinet member David McCormick in most polls, who announced his campaign in December. McCormick most recently served as the head of a lucrative hedge fund and has a sizable war chest, as evidenced by his purchase of a “Let’s Go Brandon” ad during this past Super Bowl.
McCormick has branded his campaign as “America First”, though he has repeatedly clashed with President Trump. Last year, he called the January 6 Capitol protests a “dark chapter in American history” and accused Trump of inciting violence. He has also supported the Trans-Pacific-Partnership and while serving as the head of Bridgewater, the company had a policy that would pay for an employee’s gender reassignment surgery if they wanted one. The company also promoted “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”
Most polls currently show McCormick in the lead by roughly five percentage points, though Dr. Oz may very well receive a boost following Trump’s endorsements. Supporters of Oz paint him as the more malleable candidate, pointing out that Donald Trump’s conservative values were also questioned prior to his election.
“I am honored to receive President Trump’s full support and endorsement, and I thank him for that,” Dr. Mehmet Oz wrote in a tweet. “President Trump knows how critical it is to change the kinds of people we send to Washington. I’m ready to bring an America First agenda to the Senate for Pennsylvania.”
I am honored to receive President Trump’s full support and endorsement, and I thank him for that. President Trump knows how critical it is to change the kinds of people we send to Washington. I’m ready to bring an America First agenda to the Senate for Pennsylvania. pic.twitter.com/7gmhZupinr
— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) April 10, 2022
McCormick meanwhile has received endorsements from former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rick Santorum and General James Mattis. His campaign was confident they would get the nod, though they have expressed confidence regardless.
Pennsylvania’s Senate race is considered to be one of the nation’s most competitive both in the general election and the GOP primary. 2016’s PA senate race between GOP incumbent Pat Toomey and Democrat challenger Katie McGinty was the most expensive in U.S. history until the North Carolina race between Thom Tillis and Cal Cunningham surpassed it. The Democrats are expected to nominate current Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, though he is being challenged by U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb in the primary.