Thanks for agreeing to debate. Now, it’s my turn to call the shots.
Republican candidate for Senate Mehmet Oz rejected the suggestion by Democratic opponent John Fetterman to hold only one debate in October, just a day after the Pennsylvania lieutenant governor agreed to a single debate with the celebrity doctor.
“The first debate has to be in September so we can allow voters to know who their candidates are right now,” Oz told Axios. “Pick one of the debates in the next two, three weeks. So we can get this ball rolling.” Oz said he wouldn’t accept a mid-October debate until Fetterman agrees to one sooner.
Oz wants to debate Fetterman before early mail and absentee voting gets underway in the Commonwealth. Those ballots are available beginning on September 19.
Fetterman committed to a single debate with Oz in mid- to late-October. He continues to work on accommodations for his auditory processing issues related to his mid-May stroke.
“We’re absolutely going to debate Dr. Oz, and that was really always our intent to do that,” Fetterman told POLITICO in an exclusive interview. “It was just simply only ever been about addressing some of the lingering issues of the stroke, the auditory processing, and we’re going to be able to work that out.”
Oz has doubled down with his push on Fetterman’s recovery.
“This is not about health,” he said. “This is about honesty. You’re either healthy, which [Fetterman] says he is pretty much, or you’re not debating because you don’t want to face the rigors of being pushed on your radical positions. Or you’re lying about being healthy.”
Outgoing Pennsylvania senator Pat Toomey said, “I’ve worked with senators in both parties, sadly, who have seriously diminished intellectual or communication capabilities, and I can tell you, that’s a very different thing. It’s really hard to be an effective voice for your constituents if you cannot engage in that way.”