Following Pennsylvania’s first and only debate between U.S. Senate candidates Dr. Mehmet Oz and John Fetterman Tuesday night, the Oz campaign declared victory and said their Republican candidate would best “represent all Pennsylvanians.”
The Oz campaign released a statement shortly after the debate concluded that said Dr. Oz, a celebrity doctor, would “find common-sense solutions to lower costs for families.”
The campaign also argued that Fetterman, a Democrat and the state’s Lieutenant Governor, has “radical and dangerous policies” that would “put criminals over Pennsylvania families.”
This combination of file photos shows Democratic Senate candidate, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, left, and Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz in 2022 photos. (AP Photo)
“The contrast between Dr. Oz and John Fetterman was clear during tonight’s debate. Radical John Fetterman couldn’t defend why he has repeatedly pushed for extreme policies like decriminalizing heroin, banning fracking, and pardoning cold-blooded murderers,” said Oz Campaign Manager Casey Contres. “Dr. Oz articulated how he would restore balance to Washington and find common-sense solutions to lower costs for families and make our streets safer.”
During the debate, the two candidates answered questions about abortion, fracking, and crime.
Oz said the issue of abortion should be a conversation between “a woman, her doctor, and local political leaders” while Fetterman said the procedure should be legalized by Congress.
The Republican also said he would support drilling for oil, commonly known as fracking — an issue that is particularly important to Pennsylvania voters. However, Fetterman, who previously opposed fracking, seemed to reverse this stance during the debate.
“I’ve always supported fracking and I always believe that independence with our energy is critical, and we can’t be held, you know, ransom to somebody like Russia,” Fetterman said. “I’ve always believed that energy independence is critical and I’ve always believed that — and I do support fracking, never taken any money from their industry, but I support how critical it is that we produce our energy and create energy independence.”
Pressed by the moderator on how he would “square” his previous comments against this new position, Fetterman said: “I do support fracking, and I don’t, I don’t — I support fracking, and I stand, and I do support fracking.”
Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman participates in a debate with his GOP challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz on October 25 in Harrisburg, PA. (NewsNation)
The two candidates found common ground on the U.S. Supreme Court and on preventing additional seats from being added.
When asked if the highest court in the country should expand its number of justices, Fetterman answered: “I don’t believe in that.”
“It’s not about changing the rules. It’s about acknowledging where we’re at,” he added.
Oz similarly said he would not change the court’s current nine-member bench: “I would never touch the makeup of the Supreme Court.”
Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz participates in a debate with his Democratic challenger John Fetterman on October 25 in Harrisburg, PA. (NewsNation)
The crucial Pennsylvania Senate race has drawn national attention including endorsements from former President Donald Trump, who backs Oz, and President Joe Biden, who is backing Fetterman.
The Senate’s current 50-50 tie has made each race in the upper chamber particularly important as both Republicans and Democrats are intent on winning a majority.
The two candidates are running to fill a U.S. Senate seat to represent Pennsylvania which will be vacated by a retiring Pat Toomey. Toomey, who has been a senator since 2011, will be retiring at the end of his term on January 3, 2023.
Several national polls show Oz still trailing Fetterman by about 2.3 points — or within the margin of error.