Oprah Winfrey has broken her silence over her protégé, celebrity physician Dr. Mehmet Oz, taking a run for a Senate seat.
Oz announced in November that he planned to run as a GOP candidate to succeed retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).
Winfrey is famously a Democratic supporter, having issued endorsements for former President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in their White House bids. Oz found fame on The Oprah Winfrey Show up until it ended its run in 2011. He has since hosted his own Dr. Oz Show.
Asked by New York Magazine to comment on Oz’s political ambitions, Winfrey was not exactly forthcoming with her support.
“One of the great things about our democracy is that every citizen can decide to run for public office,” Winfrey said via a spokesperson. “Mehmet Oz has made that decision. And now it’s up to the residents of Pennsylvania to decide who will represent them.”
Ouch. If Oz is hoping for more fulsome endorsement from his former colleague, he’ll likely be waiting a long time.
According to The Wrap, ratings for The Dr. Oz Show have been dropping since he announced his run for political office. The show will air for the last time on January 14, ahead of his official 2022 campaign starting in earnest.
When he announced his run for Senate, Oz said he’d been partly driven by the pandemic.
“We have not managed our crises as effectively as past generations. During the pandemic, I learned that when you mix politics and medicine, you get politics instead of solutions. That’s why I am running for the U.S. Senate: to help fix the problems and to help us heal.”
Earlier this month, it emerged that part of his campaigning would be railing against “cancel culture”. Audio emerged of comments he made at a private luncheon in New York City defending Harry Potter author JK Rowling. In response, Oz tweeted, “It’s time to stand up to the Left and end the cancel culture mob that is destroying our country.”
It’s time to stand up to the Left and end the cancel culture mob that is destroying our country.
— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) December 18, 2021
Although news of his run has already met with some negative press (besides his cancel culture comments, the fact he lives in New Jersey and is running for a seat in Pennsylvania has also raised some eyebrows), he’s already picking up support for his campaign.
A December 20th poll by the Trafalgar Group asked over 1,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania who they’d vote for it they could do so “tomorrow”. Oz led the field, taking 18.8% of the vote: ten points ahead of the next GOP candidate. However, 50% of those to respond said they’d yet to make up their mind.