by Arjun Singh
Allies of Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania have dramatically increased their funding for his candidacy in the state, with new polls released Tuesday suggesting that their contributions are impacting the race.
John Fetterman currently leads Oz by under 2%, gaining 47.7% of the vote to Oz’s 45.9%, per a September poll by the Trafalgar Group – within the margin of error of 2.9%. In July, the same poll showed Fetterman leading Oz by 5%, outside the margin of error.
The new polling data follows reports of concern within Fetterman’s campaign about being outspent by Oz’s team. In a memo to top donors on Sept. 13, Fetterman’s campaign manager Brendan McPhillips expressed alarm over the scale of spending by Oz’s camp, per extracts of the memo leaked by Politico.
“In the last three weeks alone, Republicans have spent nearly $12 million dollars — significantly outspending us and out-communicating on the airwaves. We cannot allow this to continue unabated,” wrote McPhillips in the memo he termed “a wake-up call.”
Data on advertising patterns shows that Oz’s spending on television and social media ads began to outstrip Fetterman in August, with the gap increasing in September. In October, the last month before the election in November, pro-Oz spending in the state is set to outstrip pro-Fetterman spots by over $6 million, per data sold by AdImpact, an advertising analytics firm.
Detox saves lives, but the first step is often the most difficult. https://t.co/28EhDudfi2
— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) September 19, 2022
The fundraising momentum for Oz comes as Fetterman faces growing and bipartisan criticism for refusing to participate in debates with Oz. Fetterman, who suffered a stroke in May and spent several months recovering before speaking at events, has said that he requires more time to recover, and has committed to one debate on Oct. 25, over one month after early voting will have begun on Sept. 19.
Oz and Republican allies, including incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who is retiring, have argued that Fetterman must commit to at least three debates before Election Day, with his stroke making him medically unfit to serve in the Senate. This criticism has been echoed by progressives and the media, notably The Washington Post, which published an editorial calling on Fetterman to debate Oz more.
“Hey John, are you going to debate Dr. Oz before the voting starts?”
John Fetterman: *walks away* pic.twitter.com/fy3C9QcNyW
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 19, 2022
However, while Trafalgar’s Poll – graded ‘A-‘ by FiveThirtyEight’s polling aggregator – shows a decline in Fetterman’s lead, other polls show wide variations in the magnitude of Fetterman’s advantage. Monmouth University’s poll, graded ‘A’ by PoliticsPA.com and conducted during the same period, shows Fetterman ahead by 10%.
Other polls show even further variations, such as Echelon Insights (graded ‘B/C’ by FiveThirtyEight), which shows Fetterman ahead by 21%, and Center Street PAC, which supports Democrats in difficult congressional races and shows Fetterman ahead by 19%. In the last two presidential elections, Pennsylvania voted for the winning candidate by 0.72%and 1.17%, among the narrowest margins nationwide.
Neither Fetterman nor Oz’s campaigns responded to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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