Dr Mehmet Oz has insisted Pennsylvanians ‘don’t care where you’re from’, following criticism he’s running as a GOP Senate candidate for the state despite living in the New Jersey until 2020.
The TV personality turned staunch supporter of Donald Trump has come under fire for his ties to the state from his Democratic rival John Fetterman, Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania.
Oz addressed the controversy directly during a campaign stop at a York County car dealership on Friday.
Speaking to reporters, he said: “Pennsylvanians don’t care where you’re from, they care what you stand for.
“But if you’re curious, my father as an immigrant came to settle us just south of Philadelphia. I went to medical school and business school in Philadelphia, met and married my woman.
“The world I see is very much based on Pennsylvania values.”
The retired surgeon, whose candidacy is backed by Trump, made a similar point during a law enforcement roundtable in York County.
According to local outlet WGAL News 8, he said: “The average Pennsylvanian doesn’t care about residency.
“They are really worried about inflation and energy prices and the crime they are witnessing in their cities. These are issues they are going to vote on in November.”
Oz had lived in a multi-million dollar property by the Hudson River in New Jersey, which he still owns.
His team says he moved into a house in the Philadelphia suburb of Bryn Athyn, owned by his wife’s family, in late 2020.
Brittany Yanick, a spokeswoman for the Oz campaign, told ABC News he’s staying in the house until another property he bought in Philadelphia is renovated.
In a statement, she added, “Pennsylvania is his home and where he spends virtually all of his time, aside from necessary trips out of state for fundraising.”
Fetterman has attacked Oz for what he claims are the Republican’s loose ties to Pennsylvania, a Senate seat that Democrats hope to overthrow in November.
In July, his campaign released a mocking video of jerseyshore star Nicole LaValle, better known as Snooki.
In the clip, shared widely on social media, she said, “I know you’re away from home and in a new place, but Jersey won’t forget you.”
According to ABC News, Fetterman’s campaign also paid for a plane to fly over the Jersey Shore with a banner saying “Hey Dr. Oz! Welcome home to NJ! Love, John.”
Controversy also erupted over Oz’s comments during a campaign stop about how many homes he owns.
Video acquired by The Daily Beast showed the GOP nominee claiming he owned two properties, despite public records indicating he owned 10.
Oz responded by admitting he had 10 properties, but only two he considered “homes” in Pennsylvania.
Speaking to Fetterman, he tweeted: “I have 10 properties (disclosed at announcement). 2 houses. My turn: when can we debate?”
Oz has been contacted for comment.
A recent poll by labor-management alliance group Pittsburgh Works Together showed Dr. Oz trailing Fetterman by nearly 20 points.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has singled out Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as two Senate battles that could lead to the protection of “abortion rights nationwide as early as January.”
On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted there was a “greater likelihood” the House would turn Republican than the Senate in November.