Fetterman Doctor Controversy as Oz Surges in Pennsylvania - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Fetterman Doctor Controversy as Oz Surges in Pennsylvania
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John Fetterman at campaign rally, Oct. 18, 2022 (NBC10 Philadelphia/YouTube)

So, as Pennsylvania’s hotter-than-hot race for the U.S. Senate heats up even more, GOP nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz is surging in the polls.

And as that happens, Newsmax has exploded the following story about Oz’s opponent, Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. Here’s the headline:

Fetterman Doctor Also a Donor

The story reveals that the Fetterman campaign, in response to media demands that the candidate, a recent stroke victim, release an update on his health, did so in a report from his doctor.

The doctor, identified as Clifford Chen, did so. And in that report said that his patient, Fetterman, “can work full duty in public office.”

Then Newsmax goes on to reveal, as the headline hints, that not only is Chen a donor to Fetterman’s campaign, but he has also been a donor to the Democrat Senate nominees Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia and Rep. Val Demings in Florida.

It’s safe to say that this has made news in the Pennsylvania media, as I have heard it firsthand on the ever-present radio local news.

The obvious concerns arise. The health report is surely legitimate. But in a hot political season, it may be received skeptically, as the Newsmax story indicates, because the doctor is also a serious donor not only to his patient, Fetterman, but to two other Democrat Senate candidates in hot races.

Oz, a decidedly serious doctor himself (not to mention a gentleman’s gentleman), said that he is thrilled for Fetterman and will be focused on the issues — of which, with the economy, crime, the border, and the surge of fentanyl into Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, there are plenty to discuss.

But without question the bottom line of the questions about Fetterman’s health have surely helped the Oz surge in the polls. And a surge it is.

Here, for example, is this from Politico just this week:

Oz closing in on Fetterman in Pennsylvania Senate race

The story says:

Republican Mehmet Oz has narrowed Democrat John Fetterman’s lead in Pennsylvania’s bare-knuckle Senate election, and the two candidates are now polling inside the margin of error, according to a new survey shared exclusively with POLITICO.

Fetterman is slightly ahead with 48 percent of likely voters, while Oz has 46 percent, the poll by AARP found. That’s a shift in Oz’s direction since June, when Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, was leading by six percentage points in the AARP survey.

As someone who lives in the middle of Pennsylvania and has now seen Oz repeatedly and close up on the campaign trail, there is no surprise that his hard work has paid off.

But make no mistake: He is also being helped by self-inflicted mistakes from the Fetterman campaign. The other day, the lieutenant governor appeared before the PennLive Editorial Board, on which, full disclosure, I sit. You can find the full televised-on-Facebook interview here.

For my question for candidate Fetterman, I noted that Fox News host and talk radio star Sean Hannity had repeatedly offered Fetterman the full three hours of his radio show and the full hour of his popular national radio show, with no response. I asked why he would say no to these mega-offers of free media.

The reply, in essence, and you can hear it for yourself in that tape, was that both Hannity and Fox News had a bias against him, with Hannity’s being staunchly pro-Oz.

In truth, I was amazed at the answer. Having worked years ago for Pennsylvania’s then–senior U.S. senator, the late John Heinz, I learned firsthand what most people in politics already know: a major portion of the job of a U.S. senator is … to debate. To debate the issues of the day in Senate committees, on the floor of the Senate itself and in the media with journalists and editorial boards, and in all manner of venues that seek to have a sitting senator make a presentation on the issues concerning them. The venues could be a college campus, a corporate board room, a union hall, a church, or any manner of other places that collectively compose life in America.

The elephant in the room here, as the lieutenant governor himself has said, is Fetterman’s health post-stroke. The fact of the matter is that running for the U.S. Senate, not to mention serving in it, is hard work. Pennsylvania is a big state — with 67 counties spread out from the New Jersey border in the east to the Ohio border in the west. When not tending to the daily grind of Senate business in Washington, a Pennsylvania senator is somewhere in his state on a rigorous and tight schedule.

In this corner, Fetterman is wished well on his health issues. A stroke is a difficult personal issue to deal with. But in this case, it is also a major political issue.

And that’s before one gets to the far, far-left political stances that Fetterman has staked out in his career.

As crime surges in Pennsylvania, for example, there was the lieutenant governor, using his role as head of the state’s pardon board to, as reported in Newsweek, embrace “the cause of releasing murderers from prison.” (READ MORE: Meet John Fetterman: America’s Weirdest Senate Candidate Ever)

That’s before one gets to Fetterman’s stance against fracking and the thousands of jobs that Pennsylvania’s energy sector creates. Not to mention that Fetterman is carrying the flag for President Joe Biden’s economic policies, which have ignited the worst inflation in 40 years, with Pennsylvanians being punished economically every time they buy gas or groceries.

The long and short here is that Dr. Mehmet Oz has turned out to be a first-class candidate for the U.S. Senate and is running a first-class, not to mention classy, campaign. Just this week, Oz was front and center at a town hall hosted by Hannity in a ballroom in York, Pennsylvania. The place was packed, with attendees seriously enthused about their Senate candidate.

As New York Yankees legendary catcher Yogi Berra used to say, it ain’t over till it’s over.

But there is no question that right here on the ground in Pennsylvania, Oz is surging.

Which is good news for a GOP takeover of the Senate. And yet another example of the results of plain, old-fashioned American hard work.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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