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Dr. Oz relying on star-power, a Trump endorsement to win Pennsylvania Senate race

Candidates make the final sprint before polls close on Tuesday.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 11:21 AM MDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Dr. Mehmet Oz’s campaign for senate is relying heavily on his star power, which according to American University political professor Capri Cafaro isn’t a bad strategy.

“Celebrity candidates are nothing new,” said Cafaro, “I think that they’re becoming more maybe, accepted because maybe the lines are blurring a little bit more. Between celebrity and politician.”

For voter Kelly Pardeu, celebrities adding their names to the ballot is an asset.

“They have influence, so I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with it,” said Pardeau.

But there is something that could hurt Dr. Oz’s chances, said Cafaro.

“He has never really lived in the state,” Cafaro said. “He doesn’t really have a direct connection, it’s really through his wife that he has the connection to Pennsylvania.”

He, and another GOP David McCormick, have been accused of carpet-bagging: a term used for politicians who don’t have a history of living where they’re running. That fissure has created an opening for Kathy Barnette. The mother of two is running as a far-right, anti-choice populist candidate. Recent polls show she’s now neck-and-neck with Oz and McCormick. But like the others, Barnette’s time in Pennsylvania has been short, which is a turnoff for some voters.

“You don’t know the people, you don’t know what the issues are in that state,” said Pardeau. “You can look it up, but if you don’t live it, you can’t really feel it.”

Barnette’s sudden surge in the polls has raised the attention of the Pennsylvania race’s star-maker.

Donald Trump is backing Dr. Oz and yet, he’s trying to have it both ways; claiming in a statement, Barnette cannot win, but if she does, he’ll be behind her all the way.

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