Dr. Oz Enters Race for US Senate in Pennsylvania
WASHINGTON — Dr. Oz, the Emmy award-winning television personality and heart surgeon, is joining the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.
“Today, America’s heartbeat is in a code red in need of a defibrillator to shock it back to life,” Oz wrote in an announcement letter posted to his website.
“I’m running for U.S. Senate to reignite our divine spark, bravely fight for freedom, and will tell it like it is,” he said.
Mehmet Oz, who is Turkish American, has been a fixture on America’s TV screens since he debuted as host on “Second Opinion with Dr. Oz” on the Discovery Channel in 2003. The second guest star on his series was Oprah Winfrey, and from 2004 on, he was a regular guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” making more than 60 appearances.
In 2009, he launched his own daily television program, “The Dr. Oz Show,” covering medical matters and general health. It too had an Oprah connection, being co-produced by Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and Sony Pictures Television.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Oz, who is an attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
A number of publications, including The New Yorker magazine, have accused him of promoting pseudoscience, endorsing unproven products and dishing out non-scientific advice.
In 2014, a congressional panel questioned Oz over his promotion of weight-loss products on his television show.
“The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called ‘miracles,’” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said during the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee hearing.
A year later, a group of doctors added their voices to the criticism, saying he manifested “an egregious lack of integrity” in his TV and promotional work and called his faculty position at Columbia University unacceptable.
Oz responded with a written statement in which he said, “I bring the public information that will help them on their path to be their best selves. We provide multiple points of view, including mine, which is offered without conflict of interest.”
However, none of these controversies troubled former President Donald Trump, who in 2018 appointed Oz to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.
Trump appointed Oz to a second term on the council in December 2020. He was appointed alongside former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and likely baseball hall-of-famer Johnny Damon.
Earlier this month, Sean Parnell, the race’s presumed frontrunner who had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, suspended his campaign after a judge ruled against him in a custody case alleging that he had abused his wife and three children.
There’s no word yet whether Trump will now switch his endorsement to Oz, but that could come as soon as tonight when the doctor is slated to be a guest on Fox News’ “Hannity” show.
Oz was expected to make his campaign announcement on “Hannity,” but apparently opted to do so earlier after the Philadelphia Inquirer reported he had begun hiring campaign staff.
By Tuesday afternoon, the Dr. Oz website was completely rebranded for the campaign ahead.
Oz lives in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, with his wife Lisa of 36 years. Together they’ve raised four children — Daphne, Arabella, Zoe and Oliver — and have four grandchildren — Philomena, John, Domenica and Giovanna.
Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue