Dunking on Dr. Oz — who, somehow, is this year’s Republican nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania — doesn’t end with the tweets.
According to the campaign for Democratic pick John Fetterman, who’s also the current lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania, the Democrat’s team raised more than $500,000 in the day after a widely derided clip of Oz went viral. (The period reflected by that total is from Monday to Tuesday of this week.) In the footage, which was originally posted online back in April, Oz meanders through a grocery store and complains about the cost for crudités, which are French appetizers that — in the parlance of the sort of everyday folks Oz is trying to represent — basically amount to vegetable platters.
The incident played right into attempts among Oz’s opponents to characterize him as essentially out-of-touch. Another recent flashpoint in the Pennsylvania campaign is how many houses Oz owns, a total he at one point claimed was two. (It’s actually ten.) Oz also faces continuing criticism for his New Jersey ties. He lived in the state — which is, mind you, not Pennsylvania — for decades. He only moved comparatively recently. Although the Fetterman campaign was already posting impressive fundraising numbers, Fetterman’s communications director Joe Calvello told CNBC that the fundraising surge from Monday to Tuesday of this week after the video began circulating was significantly ahead of the campaign’s normal fundraising rate. The boost was “well above” average fundraising levels for the Democrat, Calvello said.
“John actually understands what it’s like to go grocery shopping and to see prices go up,” Fetterman’s campaign manager Brendan McPhillips remarked in a Tuesday statement. “Oz clearly has never been in a grocery store before. That’s why this is resonating with supporters across Pennsylvania.” Fetterman’s campaign made a promotional decal available that reads “Wegners: Let Them Eat Crudité,” and that offer brought in more than $65,000 of the initial total, the campaign said. Besides the strange wanderings in the grocery store that the Oz campaign thought would boost arguments against inflation, Oz also misstated the name of the store where the video was filmed. He called it “Wegners.” There’s not a grocery store chain with that name. He was actually in a store called Redner’s. In yet another flub, Oz misidentified the price for broccoli, which he claimed was getting sold by the head. It was actually by the pound.
Oz eventually tried to push back on the criticism for the video in an interview with Newsmax. In polling, Fetterman consistently runs ahead of Oz, who has Trump’s support and barely won the GOP primary, finishing in first by fewer than 1,000 votes. Fetterman’s lead is sometimes substantial. In a Public Opinion Strategies poll made available this week, Fetterman was ahead of Oz by 18 percent when excluding voters from the underlying pool of respondents who said they merely leaned towards one of the candidates. (Including them didn’t change much.) Public Opinion Strategies is a highly regarded pollster, with a rating of “A-” from the elections data and analysis site FiveThirtyEight, which reflects a high level of confidence in the pollster’s accuracy.