(WHTM) – More than two months after Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate primary election, Republican Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman are slowly starting to ramp up in-person campaign events.
On Friday Oz appeared at a public safety roundtable hosted by HR Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in York. The event focused on public safety with the York County District Attorney and several local Chiefs of Police. Oz says his preference is to spend more money on mental health initiatives when it comes to combating crime.
The Republican nominee also turned his focus towards Fetterman, who has been slow to return to the campaign trail after suffering a stroke days prior to the primary. Oz says he’s been low-key on the campaign trail because he’s learning the issues and listening to people, however, polls show Fetterman still leading the former TV doctor.
Oz, who narrowly defeated Dave McCormick by less than 1,000 votes in the primary, says he’s working to unify the Republican party going into an election that could swing the balance of power in Congress.
“I think as we enter into the fall, Republicans are gonna understand more and more who I am and what I stand for, what my opponent would do the country,” said Oz. “That’s gonna unify the Republican Party and you’ll see it come down to the final inches like it did in the primary.”
Despite concerns regarding Fetterman’s health, the former cardiologist Oz hasn’t targeted it in campaign ads other than social media posts asking where Fetterman is.
“I trust what his family is saying because I don’t know anything else besides that, that he’s going to be able to campaign,” said Oz. “I’m more concerned about what he would do if he was in office.”
Fetterman attended a private fundraiser in Montgomery County on Thursday night, but he’s rarely been seen in public and has largely avoided interviews. Fetterman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this week that he has “no physical limits” and the remaining effects of the stroke are minor and infrequent. He said he is able to walk 4 to 5 miles every day, understands words properly and has not lost his memory.
According to a Democratic Jewish Outreach official who attended Fetterman’s event, the Lieutenant Governor spoke for about 20 minutes to a crowd of about 125-150 people, spoke clearly, and appeared to be at about 90% back to health after his stroke.
A Fetterman spokesperson pointed to several events the Democratic candidate held in Philadelphia on Thursday.
In early June, “Insider” senior politics reporter Jake Lahut told abc27 he believed Democrats would begin to grow nervous over Fetterman’s health by about late June into early July. As the calendar approaches August, Lahut says Fetterman’s strong fundraising numbers and standings in the polls should make Democrats feel better than expected.
“I would be surprised by that,” said Lahut when asked if he could’ve predicted the rate of Fetterman’s success despite not being on the trail.
Since beginning his campaign Oz has raised $19,005,626.20 compared to Fetterman’s $25,705,254.97, according to July campaign finance filings. A June AARP poll found Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Fetterman received 50% support to Oz’s 44%
Pennsylvania’s general election is on November 8, 2022.