The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board on Sunday endorsed Republican Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s hotly contested Senate race.
The editorial board cast Oz as a moderate who would stand up to the far right while raising concerns about Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s medical transparency after he experienced a stroke just before the state’s primary.
“Mr. Fetterman’s health — he suffered a serious stroke in May — is not the issue,” the editorial board wrote. “His lack of transparency, however, in refusing to release his medical records is troubling. It suggests an impulse to conceal and a mistrust of the people. All candidates for a major elected office should release their medical records, as did Mr. Oz. If you want privacy, don’t run for public office.”
Fetterman’s campaign has released a letter from the candidate’s doctor indicating he has no work restrictions, but Oz has continued to criticize him for declining to release his full medical records as Oz looks to cruise to victory next week on issues such as crime and inflation.
The editorial board called Oz’s demand “legitimate,” while also taking aim at the candidates for trading insults during the race, such as when Fetterman mocked Oz for calling a raw vegetable tray a “crudite.”
“Despite deep ideological differences between Mehmet Oz, a right-leaning Republican, and John Fetterman, a left-leaning Democrat, the U.S. Senate campaign in Pennsylvania has mostly skirted the issues,” the editorial board wrote. “It has been a slugfest, marked by relentless attacks and counter-attacks that generated more heat than light.”
Oz and Fetterman are vying for one of the nation’s most competitive Senate seats after incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R) announced his retirement.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette endorsed Toomey in his reelection bid six years ago, and in 2020 the paper supported a Republican presidential candidate for the first time since 1972 when it endorsed former President Trump’s campaign.
The editorial board raised cautious optimism about Oz’s prospects in the Senate, suggesting “little is certain” while expressing hope he will not “be a stooge” for the far right or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“We hope that Mr. Oz will disappoint them and serve in the Pennsylvania tradition of moderate Republicans, such U.S. Sens. John Heinz, Hugh Scott and Richard Schweiker,” the editorial board wrote.
“We’re encouraged that Mr. Oz is portraying himself as a unifier who will work with Democrats to get things done for Pennsylvania,” the group continued. “It remains to be seen whether he can pull that off, but he has the potential to become an influential, thoughtful and independent senator.”