Oz, 61, will seek the Republican nomination in a key 2022 contest after the early GOP front-runner, former Army Ranger Sean Parnell, suspended his campaign amid domestic abuse allegations.
Known in entertainment as Dr. Oz, the Ohio-born cardiothoracic surgeon rose to national fame as a guest on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show before landing his own program, “The Dr. Oz Show.”
He has been a frequent guest on Fox News to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, and has promoted controversial and unproven COVID-19 treatments such as the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. He has been blasted by the medical community for using his platform to promote quack science, including weight loss drugs and astrology.
Oz, a political newcomer, will enter the race with immediate name recognition and a vast personal fortune, but with ample negative fodder for his opponents. Oz has scant ties to Pennsylvania, and doesn’t appear to have lived in the state since attending the University of Pennsylvania, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
His political beliefs are also murky. Federal Election Commission records show he has contributed to candidates from both parties, including Democrats John Kerry, a former presidential candidate who is now President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Oz also served as a health adviser to former President Donald Trump, potentially teeing him up for an endorsement now that Trump’s earlier pick, Parnell, is no longer running.