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GOP groups spend $6 million on Fetterman Oz race

Mehmet Oz, Republican U.S. Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, speaks during a campaign event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.

Nate Smallwood | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Republican political action committees announced more than $6 million in new spending in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, two weeks before the state’s pivotal Senate race decides which party controls the upper house of Congress.

Two PACs, American Crossroads and Faith and Power PAC, are pouring $3 million and $3.2 million into Pennsylvania, respectively. Both groups are linked to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. PAC confirmed the numbers to CNBC.

The spending, first reported by Politico, will fund ads starting Tuesday that will last until Election Day Nov. 8, a spokesperson for the Senate Leadership Fund told CNBC.

GOP groups announced the investment in the Keystone state hours before the one and only debate between Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman, Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz was scheduled to take place.

It also came days after the Senate Leadership Fund abruptly canceled millions of dollars it had earmarked for another Senate race in New Hampshire.

The reassignment shows that Republican leaders are betting on Oz, a top Senate candidate who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, to prevail in a contest that many in both parties consider the most important race in mid- mandates.

“Dr. Oz is on the rise, but Democrats are launching a barrage of late spending in Pennsylvania to stop its momentum,” Senate Leadership Fund Chairman Steven Law said in a statement to CNBC.

“It’s a must race where we have to shore up our firepower to make sure Oz goes over the top. We think if we win Pennsylvania, we win the majority,” Law said.

Fetterman and Oz are competing for the seat vacated by incumbent GOP Senator Pat Toomey. The swing state seat, which President Joe Biden won over Trump in the 2020 presidential race, is seen as the best opportunity for Democrats to secure a Senate seat as they try to hold on their majority in an unfavorable electoral cycle.

Oz trailed Fetterman throughout the general election – but polls in recent weeks have tightened considerably. Some surveys now show the race tied or within the margins of error.

Fetterman, who is still recovering from a debilitating stroke suffered in May, tempered expectations ahead of the showdown with longtime talk show host Oz.

“We’ll admit — it’s not John’s format,” Fetterman’s campaign aides said in a memo sent to reporters Monday, NBC News reported.

Fetterman’s primary care physician wrote last week that the candidate “has no work restrictions” and “spoke intelligently with no cognitive deficits” during a recent appointment.

But the doctor noted that due to Fetterman’s ongoing problems with auditory processing, he would sometimes “miss” words, making it sound like he couldn’t hear every word spoken to him.

Fetterman has given few interviews since returning to the campaign trail three months after his stroke. In these, he used a captioning system in order to fully understand the questions put to him.

His campaign warned on Monday that using captioning during the debate could lead to awkward pauses and transcription errors.

“We stand ready for Oz allies and right-wing media to release malicious post-debate viral videos that attempt to portray John in a negative light,” they wrote in the memo.


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