PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Update: Dr. Mehmet Oz, the celebrity heart surgeon best known as the host of TV’s, Dr. Oz Show, says he is running for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat as a Republican.
In a video message on social media, Oz, casts himself as a sort of champion for people’s health, who “took on the medical establishment” and is prepared to fight a government that mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oz — a longtime New Jersey resident — in recent days has told associates and Republicans in Pennsylvania of his plans and, according to a TV show spokesperson, has lived and voted in Pennsylvania since last year.
Republican insiders say that Mehmet Oz of The Dr. Oz Show, is likely to join the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Reports say that the celebrity doctor has already hired top campaign aides and has reached out to some Republican political leaders in the Commonwealth.
If he does in fact join the race, Dr. Oz would be seeking the Republican nomination in one of the country's most critical races, also according to The Inquirer. This is the race that decides Senator Pat Toomey's successor, thus it is also one of the key contests likely to decide control of the U.S. Senate.
Oz would also be entering the Senate race with massive name recognition, and "enormous wealth that he is said to be willing to pour into the contest, but with little known about his political beliefs," also according to the Inquirer.
He would also be joining a GOP field that includes names such as Montgomery County developer Jeff Bartos, former Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands, and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette.
Political aides did not immediately respond to the Inquirer's request for comment on Monday, but did tell FOX43 that Dr. Oz told staffers that they might hear news that he has been encouraged to run for U.S. Senate, but that he is focused on the show and will share his thoughts as they evolve.
The announcement could come Tuesday night on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, which Hannity previewed by saying that Oz would make “a huge announcement."
Oz was introduced to the public over a decade ago by Oprah Winfrey. Since then, he has risen to fame on his television show, and has been blasted in recent years for promoting diet pills that other doctors have called a sham.
He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania medical school and from its Wharton business school in 1986.
Oz lived in New Jersey before switching to vote in Montgomery County last year.