Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has made a habit of using social media to troll his opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, in Pennsylvania’s race for U.S. Senate, and now Oz is doing a little trolling of his own.
Oz’s campaign released a “John Fetterman Basement Tracker” on Tuesday, criticizing Fetterman over a lack of public appearances since he suffered a stroke in mid-May. The tactic marks yet another escalation in the race for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat, in which attacks have largely taken place on social media in the months since the primary election.
"John Fetterman continues to take the hiding in basement strategy to a new level. He hasn't had public events or media interviews in months,” said Brittany Yanick, Oz’s communications director. “It's time he starts answering for his crazy views on things like sanctuary cities, releasing one-third of Pennsylvania's prison population, the Green New Deal, and trillions in wasteful spending."
68 days and counting, no interviews - no public events. pic.twitter.com/KazXRUkAMi— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) July 19, 2022
Fetterman’s campaign responded with a common line of attack against Oz, hitting the celebrity physician over his New Jersey roots.
"It's been 0 days since Oz left PA for his home in New Jersey. Good to see that they figured out how to spell Huntingdon though," said Joe Calvello, a spokesperson for the Fetterman campaign.
Fetterman, the state’s Democratic nominee, has been off the campaign trail since suffering a stroke on May 13. He was hospitalized as a result, and underwent a procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator. Fetterman later revealed he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a term for a heart muscle disorder that weakens the heart’s ability to pump blood.
Oz and Fetterman have traded insults on social media since Oz was officially declared the winner of the GOP primary in early June. Oz has frequently looked to tie Fetterman to more progressive members of the Democratic Party like U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Fetterman, meanwhile, has continued to direct attacks at Oz over his past residency in New Jersey, which Oz has been criticized for in both the primary and general election cycles. Last week, Fetterman recruited Jersey Shore star Snooki, purchasing a Cameo video where the reality TV personality said Oz will “be back home in Jersey soon.”
The unorthodox nature of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, in which both Oz and Fetterman have often used social media as a cudgel to score political points, has garnered national attention from pundits and media outlets alike.
The state’s general election for U.S. Senate is on Nov. 8.