Pennsylvania’s senatorial candidates clash amidst political turmoil


Courtesy of CNN

Fetterman and Oz met for a debate broadcasted on national television on October 25th.

The 2022 Pennsylvania Senate Election has become an object of interest not only in the Pennsylvania area, but in the wider American political landscape. While the election obviously marks the outcome of an important Senate swing seat, the antics and clash between celebrity Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz and Democratic candidate John Fetterman have taken the spotlight.

To look at the highlights of the race so far, we must first take a look at the individual candidates.

Democrat John Fetterman, a Pennsylvania native, had his view on life changed after he took part in a Big Brother program where he took care of a young child whose parents suffered greatly from AIDS. After attending Albright College and Harvard University, Fetterman wished to do more to help those around him. He decided to enter into public service. eventually serving as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, from 2006 to 2019. He currently advocates for criminal justice reform, legalizing marijuana, raising the minimum wage, and abortion rights.

Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and has served on a far more bewildering career path. Oz grew up in America, being raised in Delaware before attending Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his medical residency, he became a professor at Columbia University in 2001. Shortly after gaining this role, Oz began appearing on various television shows. In 2009, Oz became the subject of his own program: The Dr. Oz Show. On television, Oz would often promote ‘miracle pills’ and spotty science, which garnered him criticism from many scientists. Oz has taken a stance opposed to abortion rights and the legalization of marijuana.

Dr. Oz’s status as a “Hollywood Elite” quickly became an easy object of satire for Fetterman and his publicity team. Dr. Oz owns at least ten residencies, with his primary one being stationed in New Jersey. Fetterman has released several memes across his social media pages regarding the fact that Oz only ‘moved’ to Pennsylvania in 2020.

However, Oz has been attempting to fight back against Fetterman’s powerful social media presence. Earlier on in the race, Oz did an extremely poor job trying to prove himself as a common Pennsylvanian. Oz released a video where he mistakenly referred to a supermarket as ‘Wegner’s’ and then attempted to show high food prices by assembling a crudite board. Fetterman and his team swiftly jumped on the video and were able to satirize Oz’s disconnect with great success. 

Recently, though, Oz has been able to criticize Fetterman’s privileged upbringing, attacking the fact that Fetterman’s parents paid for many of his expenses up until his 40s. Oz has also called Fetterman’s mental health into question because of a stroke that the Democratic candidate experienced in early 2022. While Fetterman’s doctor attests that he is in stable and healthy mental condition, the medical event has become an easy target for Oz. 

In today’s political landscape, elections often come down to how well a candidate can tear down their opponent. Both candidates in this race are fighting tooth and nail to get as much negativity as possible associated with the other before Election Day. Until then, we can only look to the polls to guess how the public will react to each side’s attacks.