Dr. Mehmet Oz, the celebrity physician best known as the host of the Dr. Oz Show, announced Tuesday that he is running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania as a Republican.
“During the pandemic, I learned that when you mix politics and medicine, you get politics instead of solutions. That’s why I am running for the U.S. Senate: to help fix the problems and to help us heal,” Oz wrote in a column published in the Washington Examiner.
The 61-year-old heart surgeon joins a crowded Republican primary field vying to succeed retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey. Businessman Jeff Bartos and former U.S. ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands have declared their candidacy for the seat, while David McCormick, a former official in the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush, is reportedly eyeing a run, according to CNN.
The candidates were thrown a curveball in recent weeks when GOP candidate Sean Parnell, who was endorsed by former President Trump, dropped out of the race.
“Pennsylvania needs a conservative who will put America first,” Oz said in a short video on his campaign website.
Oz, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Turkish immigrants, attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. He rose to prominence as a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show before starting his own syndicated daytime TV show in 2009.
In his campaign video, Oz hit the federal response to COVID-19, saying the pandemic had been mishandled by “elites” who “closed our parks, shuttered our schools, shut down our businesses, and took away our freedom.’’
“Washington got it wrong,” said Oz, who regularly appeared on Fox News to discuss COVID-19.