John Fetterman Vs. Mehmet Oz: Pennsylvania’s US Senate Election


  • Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz are facing off for US Senate in Pennsylvania. 
  • Fetterman is the state’s lieutenant governor and Oz is a celebrity doctor and first-time candidate. 
  • Pennsylvania is a closely-contested battleground state that Biden won by 1.2 points in 2020. 

Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz are facing off for an open US Senate seat in Pennsylvania. 

Pennsylvania Senate candidates

Fetterman and Oz are vying to succeed GOP Sen. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, a battleground Senate race critical to both parties’ fortunes in the US Senate — and a seat Democrats are aiming to flip back from Republican control. 

Fetterman has served as Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor since 2018 and was previously the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, in the western part of the state. Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon, rose to prominence as a celebrity doctor thanks to exposure from Oprah Winfrey, and is best known for his work on television hosting the “Dr. Oz Show.” 

Fetterman, a progressive, is centering his campaign around being a reliable 51st vote for Democratic priorities in the Senate. He supports changing the current filibuster rules to ease the passage of legislation and strongly supports marijuana legalization, even pushing President Joe Biden to decriminalize marijuana

Fetterman’s campaign has also slammed Oz with a series of posts on social media for living in New Jersey for much of his adult life and career.

Oz, meanwhile, has hammered Fetterman for his policy positions and sought to tie him to Biden’s low approval ratings and the economy. 

Fetterman’s health has also been a major focal point during the race as the candidate recovers from a stroke in May. Oz’s campaign has pressured Fetterman, who has had difficulty understanding spoken words, to release more medical information about his condition. Fetterman’s doctor says the candidate “is recovering well from his stroke and his health has continued to improve.”

Voting history in Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania is a competitive swing state that backed former President Donald Trump by 1.2 points in the 2016 presidential election before flipping to support Biden by 1.2 points in the 2020 election. 

In the Senate, incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey defeated his GOP opponent Lou Barletta by 13 points in 2018, a Democratic wave year. Toomey, meanwhile, defeated his final Democratic opponent, Katie McGinty, by just 1.5 points in 2016.

The money race

This race will certainly stand as one of the most expensive — if not the most expensive — 2022 midterm races in the nation.

According to OpenSecrets, Fetterman has raised $48 million, spent about $44 million, and has $4.2 million in cash on hand, as of September 30. Oz has raised $34.9 million, spent $32.2 million, and has $2.5 million in cash on hand, as of September 30.

Meanwhile, super PACs, national party committees, politically active nonprofits, and other non-candidate groups have combined to spend more than $155 million in the race through mid-October, including the primaries.

What experts say 

The race between Fetterman and Oz is rated as a “toss-up” by Inside Elections and The Cook Political Report and “leans Democratic” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics

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