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Tipsheet

Is Fetterman Afraid of Dr. Oz? Democrat Senatorial Candidate Refuses Debate As Race Tightens

AP Photo/Marc Levy

The Senate race between Democrat John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican, has garnered national attention in the past several weeks. The two are vying to fill what will be Pennsylvania's open Senate seat currently filled by Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican. 

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Although Fetterman has been slightly leading in the polls, it's a slim enough lead where Dr. Oz can certainly make that up. In addition to being in the news for refusing to campaign with Biden and his racist comments about IDs, Fetterman has now made news for refusing to debate with Dr. Oz.

NBC News' Zoë Richards reported on Tuesday night that Fetterman rejected Oz's offers for the first debate, which would have taken place next week. Richards' reporting includes a statement from Fetterman that claims his opponent's various concessions for the debate "made it abundantly clear that they think it is funny to mock a stroke survivor."

Fetterman suffered a stroke in May, just before he won his primary. His campaign appearances have been marked by inarticulate moments, which have not gone unnoticed. "As I recover from this stroke and improve my auditory processing and speech, I look forward to continuing to meet with the people of Pennsylvania," his statement also added, further addressing his stroke. 

Dr. Oz and his staff have made Fetterman's refusal a major issue throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday. Brittany Yanick, a spokesperson for Oz, is quoted by NBC News as calling Fetterman's statement "whiny," again asking when Fetterman will agree to debate. "Ok, so when will he debate?" she asked. "He won’t ever say — not even in his latest whiny statement."

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The cover photo for Dr. Oz's Twitter account even includes a screenshot of a tweet from Fetterman himself about the importance of debates, from February 22, 2022.

Rachel Tripp, who serves as a senior communicators advisor to the Oz campaign, also provided a statement to Townhall about how Fetterman's refusal to debate denies voters a chance to hear from the candidates. "John Fetterman's refusal to debate is a slap in the face to voters who deserve to hear directly from their candidates, and raises legitimate questions about why he won't participate in the democratic process," she said. 

Speaking to the Democrat's record, Tripp added "Fetterman is either fully recovered and ready to participate in this race as an active candidate, or he doesn't want to defend his radical record. He can't have it both ways. It's time for Fetterman to man up and tell Pennsylvania the truth." 

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Dr. Oz himself also doubled down on highlighting Fetterman's record when speaking to Dana Perino on Fox News' "America Newsroom." About Fetterman having given so many different reasons for not debating, "I'm of the opinion that he's hiding his radical views because he is the furthest far-left radical candidate at any competitive Senate race this cycle, and he doesn't want those views to be exposed," Oz explained.

The race for the open seat is now more consistently considered a "Toss-Up" as more damning news coverage comes out about Fetterman, whose lead has become rather narrow over Oz. The Republican candidate also told Perino he's confident he could win, even at this point in the election cycle.

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