U.S. Senate candidates Fetterman, Oz set to go head-to-head in debate

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

The two candidates to replace outgoing Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey are set to debate each other on Tuesday.

Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz will debate at 8 p.m. Tuesday — their only scheduled appearance together this fall.

The debate, hosted by ABC27, will feature the candidates in a hotly contested race that will prove consequential in terms of control of the U.S. Senate.

Fetterman, currently lieutenant governor, had built up a large lead during the summer against his opponent. However, former media personality Oz has battled back with a focus on crime, inflation and the economy; the latest polls show a slim lead for Fetterman.

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In a recent appearance at the Rotary Club of York, Oz sought to focus on those topics, including saying that Pennsylvania needs to unleash its natural gas resources.

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Dr. Mehmet Oz speaks to media outside Country Club of York in Spring Garden Township, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

"The land of opportunity would provide as long as you work hard, offer a little innovation, a little grit, a little spunk," Oz said in his opening remarks. "I have felt over the past few years that our belief in this country as a land of plenty and opportunity is not as widely appreciated as it had been."

In his own recent campaign appearance at the York Expo Center, Fetterman reiterated his common themes: his stance against crime, his support for health care for all and for abortion rights — and that Oz isn’t from Pennsylvania. 

He also addressed his stroke.

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“Dr. Oz never lets me forget I had a stroke,” Fetterman said. “I can guarantee you there’s at least one person here and every event filming me looking for me to miss some words or push words together. What kind of a doctor loves seeing someone that was sick stay sick?” 

York County supported both candidates in the May primary. Fetterman received 22,622 of the total 28,286 votes in the Democratic primary, while Oz received 18,997 of the 60,781 total cast in the Republican primary.

Both candidates have attacked the other; Oz attacks what he says is Fetterman's far-left positions, while Fetterman has focused on Oz's peddling of miracle cures on "The Dr. Oz Show" as well as his running for office in Pennsylvania despite having lived most of his life in California and New Jersey.

The one-hour debate will be broadcast on ABC27 and hosted by ABC27 anchor Dennis Owens and WPXI anchor Lisa Sylvester.

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

 — Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.