Republican Dr. Oz was a considerable underdog just a few months ago to win Pennsylvania’s junior US Senate seat. But after last night’s primetime debate against his opponent, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, in which the Democratic candidate greatly struggled to formulate sentences and answer questions, the momentum is with the 62-year-old former daytime talk show host.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Dr. Oz square off in their only US Senate debate on Oct. 25, 2022. Fetterman labored throughout much of the one-hour discussion to form clear sentences and concrete answers. (Image: Nexstar)
Fetterman held a double-digit point advantage in the polls earlier this year. But since the 53-year-old former mayor of Braddock suffered a stroke in May, the polls have tightened.
Fetterman has dodged questions regarding his overall fitness to serve in the US Senate and has refused to release his medical records. He instead issued a letter from his primary care doctor saying he is ready for the job.
But the lieutenant governor of the commonwealth has avoided media interviews and only briefly appeared at campaign rallies since his stroke. After denying numerous debate requests from Dr. Oz, Fetterman agreed to last night’s head-to-head after the polls showed many Pennsylvanians have become increasingly concerned with his mental aptness.
Fetterman’s woeful performance, which will only further elevate concerns regarding his mental capacity to serve in Washington, resulted in a rush of trading on PredictIt’s market regarding the US Senate race in Pennsylvania.
PredictIt bettors had things pretty close between Dr. Oz and Fetterman heading into the debate. Dr. Oz’s shares were trading just three cents higher than Fetterman’s.
But after the roughly one-hour debate, PredictIt bettors have rushed to buy Dr. Oz stock. The Republican’s shares have surged 12 cents, with more than 252,100 shares traded during the past 24 hours.
Oddsmakers in the UK where betting on political outcomes is allowed via sportsbooks have shortened Dr. Oz’s line post-debate. Dr. Oz went from the challenger to front-runner, his odds of winning on Nov. 8 now at 7/15 — or an implied chance of more than 68%.
The Pennsylvania Senate race will weigh heavily on the overall power of Congress next year. Less than two weeks out from Election Day, bettors believe the GOP will control both the Senate and House following the 2022 midterms.
It became quickly apparent last night that Fetterman’s ability to comprehend questions and deliver coherent answers had been greatly compromised by his May medical incident. He opened by saying, “Hi, goodnight everybody.”
Two 70-inch monitors were hung behind the two moderators that provided Fetterman with closed captioning of what was being said. But Fetterman still struggled to articulate his opinions and policies.
On the issue of fracking, for instance, Fetterman said he has always supported the controversial oil and natural gas extraction process. But the moderators cited a quote from 2018 in which Fetterman said he opposed all forms of fracking and would “never” support the industry.
I’ve always supported fracking,” Fetterman declared. When pressed to clarify by the moderator after re-reading his 2018 statement, the lieutenant governor seemed perplexed to come up with a retort.
“I do support fracking … I do support fracking,” Fetterman said awkwardly.
Meanwhile, Dr. Oz seemed polished and prepared for his first and only discussion with his opponent.
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