Dr. Mehmet Oz has leaned heavily into his endorsement from Donald Trump to put him ahead of his competitors in the Pennsylvania Senate race, but many Republicans are still not won over. In a Friday evening rally in Greensburg, PA Trump’s presence proved to be not enough for some anti-Oz voters, who booed the candidate repeatedly. Cheers were also mixed in with the boos, and Oz is one of the frontrunners, but the race is far from over.
Oz greeted with boos
Trump’s word has not been enough to exonerate Oz for remarks he made before the race began, including his overt support for abortion as late as 2019.
Those remarks were on the minds of many Pennsylvania Republicans at the rally, in large part thanks to David McCormick, who has been locked in a bitter and expensive battle for the nomination with Oz.
Some voters chanted McCormick’s name when videos showing Oz played before the rally. When Trump introduced the TV doctor later some attendees stood up and turned their backs to the stage in protest.
Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance, fresh from a decisive victory in his own primary race, spoke in support of Oz, urging voters to support him over the special interests and big donors represented by McCormick.
The former hedge fund CEO, who has also courted Trump supporters, has targeted Oz with a barrage of advertisements accusing him of being a RINO and an opportunist.
McCormick himself has received some unwanted attention for his past enthusiasm for the BLM protests of 2020, which he encouraged other hedge fund managers to support. Both men lived outside of Pennsylvania until they arrived to declare their candidacies.
Trump gets booed when he mentions Mehmet Oz. pic.twitter.com/TABoe5biXu
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) May 7, 2022
Republican race still undecided
With the primary rapidly approaching, significant numbers of PA Republicans are still undecided even after the Trump endorsement. Polls show Oz in the lead, but he has failed to climb above 25% support.
The nomination could still go to any of the top three candidates; Oz, McCormick, or Kathy Barnette, who has been gaining momentum after a strong debate performance.
The three are effectively in a three-way tie, a fact which only Barnette has cause to be pleased with given how much money the other two have spent in their struggle for first place.
Rally attendees were as divided between the three candidates as Pennsylvania Republicans are as a whole, and many Trump supporters continue to feel that the former president made a mistake.
The fact that many of the undecided voters remained undecided after Trump announced his endorsement implies that his support was not enough to overcome their reservations towards Oz.
This lack of enthusiasm will be a problem for the doctor should he win the nomination, in which case he will face Democrat John Fetterman in what is sure to be a contentious race.