Dr. Mehmet Oz, a TV personality and longtime resident of Cliffside Park, announced this afternoon that he would cross the Delaware and run as a Republican in next year’s U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania.
“Pennsylvania needs a conservative who will put America first: one who can reignite our divine spark, bravely fight for freedom, and tell it like it is,” Oz said in his launch video. “That’s why I’m running for Senate.”
Oz’s potential entry to the race had been the subject of some speculation in the past week, following the implosion of Trump-endorsed candidate Sean Parnell; Parnell was accused of spousal and child abuse by his estranged wife, and withdrew from the race last Monday.
But Oz’s ties to Pennsylvania are not especially deep. The Republican lived most of his adult life in Bergen County, and was in fact approached to run for Senate in New Jersey in both 2006 and 2008, passing both times.
Oz also voted in New Jersey as recently as November 2020 and his voter registration remains active in the state, although the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that he registered to vote from his in-laws’ address in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania last year.
Overall, Oz has been a relatively consistent voter in New Jersey’s general elections, voting in all but five of the state’s 21 general elections since 2000. He skipped voting in 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009, and 2017, meaning that he missed 2002’s highly competitive U.S. Senate election and two of the last three gubernatorial elections.
Out of the 22 Republican primaries the state has held since the turn of the millennium, however, Oz only voted in three: the 2008 presidential primary, 2009, and 2016.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), who has represented Cliffside Park in the U.S. House for years, was quick to poke fun at Oz’s apparent carpetbagging to a new state.
“I want to congratulate my North Jersey constituent Dr. Oz on his run for US Senate in Pennsylvania,” Pascrell wrote on Twitter. “I’m sure this fully genuine candidacy will capture the hearts of Pennsylvanians.”