Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz has officially spent more money out of his own pocket to defeat Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman than Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper’s base salary.
Oz, a retired heart surgeon and former TV celebrity, has donated nearly $27 million from his personal fortune to his campaign, making him the largest self-funded candidate in the 2022 midterm election cycle. For perspective, the Philadelphia Inquirer observes that the designated hitter and NLCS MVP Harper has a starting salary of $26 million.
In October alone, Oz injected $5.5 million of his own money into the race against Fetterman, according to data from Open Secrets, a nonpartisan and nonprofit group that tracks U.S. political spending. In just the last two weeks, he gave his campaign $1 million on Oct. 20, another $1 million on Oct. 24, and then $2 million on Oct. 25, for a total of $4 million.
As of Oct. 19, public records from the Federal Elections Commission show Fetterman had more cash on hand than Oz, holding more than $4.5 million in unspent funds compared to the Republican’s $2.6 million cash on hand. Overall, Fetterman has raised a total of $56.6 million to Oz’s $40 million.
Polls indicate the race in Pennsylvania is a toss-up, with Democratic groups pouring millions of dollars into the state to boost their chances of keeping the Senate majority. Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is retiring, giving Democrats one of their only opportunities to go on offense in this cycle instead of defending incumbent senators.
Issues like inflation and abortion, which are among the top concerns for voters in other races, have been somewhat sidelined in Pennsylvania, where Fetterman has faced questions from Oz over his health since suffering a stroke earlier this year.
During the first and only Senate debate last month, the Democratic nominee struggled at times to answer questions and required the assistance of a computer to understand the moderator’s questions.
Fetterman’s campaign has insisted he is ready to serve if elected and has attacked Oz with accusations of carpet-bagging and being too wealthy and out-of-touch to represent Pennsylvania.