CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses potentially sensitive topics. Please use caution before reading.
The midterm election in Pennsylvania pits John Fetterman (D) and Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) against each other fighting for Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R) seat. Experts say this race will decide which party holds the majority in the Senate next year.
A free shuttle will be available to take SRU students to and from the polls. The township polling place is at 153 Branchton Road, and the borough polling place is at 320 N. Main St. The shuttle will run every half hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oz got his start as a surgeon before becoming a TV personality. He has never run for political office but has been active within the Republican Party in New Jersey.
He was also appointed in May 2018 to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition by President Trump. He served on the council through Trump’s presidency and was removed by the Biden Administration.
Oz lives in New Jersey and owns land in Pennsylvania. His career in the medical industry has been controversial due to being a decorated surgeon, though he stopped operating in 2018, and also began supporting alternative medicine and other failed products.
Oz said he would support Trump if the Republicans nominate him, but he has distanced himself from all Trump branding since his endorsement.
Fetterman has stated that he will endorse President Biden if he chooses to run for re-election in 2024.
Fetterman is the current Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and former mayor of Braddock, a small town outside Pittsburgh. He also oversees the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons.
While mayor of Braddock in Jan. 2013, Fetterman was involved in an incident near his home where he pointed a shotgun at an unarmed black jogger and detained him.
The jogger has said that Fetterman lied about the circumstances surrounding the incident, but the jogger has forgiven him and doesn’t want this incident to cost Fetterman the race.
Oz consistently discusses crime in Philadelphia on the campaign trail. He also broadly opposes mandatory minimum sentences.
Oz is also vocal throughout his campaign about justice for George Floyd, but he thinks the Black Lives Matter Movement “did justice to the real struggle that we have.” He also frequently criticizes his opponent for being “soft on crime.”
Fetterman supports mandatory minimum sentences in cases involving fentanyl dealers.
Fetterman sometimes refers to his time as mayor of Braddock when they went five-and-a-half years without a death from gun violence.
He also supports investing more in resources for local police departments including mental health and social services, but the appropriate staff is needed to implement these resources.
Fetterman’s opponent has also repeatedly criticized him for his actions on the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons.
Pennsylvania sees about 14 overdose deaths per day. Philadelphia is fighting the highest murder rate in the city’s history.
Oz supports marijuana reform and has thought the drug could be a potential solution to Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis. He also thought Biden’s pardoning of convicts with nonviolent marijuana chargers was “rational.”
Oz also supports using prescription opioids while recovering from painful surgery and assures patients they are far less likely to get addicted when following a prescription.
Fetterman supports decriminalizing drugs which would make possessing a small amount of a drug legal. He also supports legalizing recreational marijuana and wants to open syringe service programs and safe consumption sites.
Fetterman and Oz have only held one debate in the running so far. The debate, held on October 25, discussed immigration, abortion and a few other issues.
Oz endorsed states rights as far as abortion went, while Fetterman endorsed Roe v. Wade.
Oz speculated whether Fetterman was medically fit to serve, while Fetterman stated that his doctors have confirmed his eligibility to serve as governor.
Fetterman has not released his medical records regarding this.
Fetterman suffered a stroke in May shortly before winning the Democratic primary. He has auditory processing issues as a result.
In Fetterman and Oz’s only debate, Fetterman requested a closed captioning system to help him better understand questions and responses.
Both campaigns agreed to the closed captioning system and were given two practice sessions with it. Fetterman only utilized one practice session.
His campaign blamed Nexstar Media Group, who set up the system, for captions being delayed and incorrect. Nexstar responded by saying the system worked as expected and intended.
Oz has suggested that Congress create a large, public fund to allocate to each state to support school vouchers.
Fetterman believes in universal pre-kindergarten and childcare and wants more funding for teachers. He also wants to increase funding into career and technical programs to “prepare young adults for successful and in-demand careers in critical industries.”
Fetterman will also fight to make community-college tuition free and reduce student loan debt.
Pennsylvania currently has a lower minimum wage than all its neighbor states. It has not been increased since 2009.
Oz wants the minimum wage raised “as high as it can go,” but he wants the raise to be driven by market forces instead of policy. He accused his Democratic opponent of “shooting too low” with raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Oz wants to use the energy “under our feet” to drive these wages up. He also opposes taxing social security.
Fetterman believes in a $15 federal minimum and a “livable wage.” He has also pledged to fight for a fair tax code.
Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the United States after Texas. Both Senate candidates support fracking in Pennsylvania. A Muhlenberg College public poll found that 48% of Pennsylvanians support fracking, and 44% are opposed to it.
Oz wants to use fracking and energy to raise wages based on Pennsylvania’s energy productions. He previously was skeptical about the public health effects of fracking and would make his decision pending the results of a public health study.
Fetterman previously did not support fracking but now supports it, citing that “we need independence with energy.”
Oz has said that abortion should be up to “a woman, her doctor and local political leaders.” He wants laws about abortion to be made by states, not the federal government. He did not say whether or not he would support a bill banning abortion after 15 weeks.
Oz does want more black doctors and to reduce disparities in health outcomes between black and white patients, according to an NBC News article.
Fetterman has said that Roe v. Wade should be the “law of the land” and did not specify if he supports any abortion restrictions.
Oz does not support open borders and sanctuary cities, but says he understands what immigrants can offer Pennsylvania since his mother and father are Turkish immigrants.
He says that narcotics and other drugs from China being brought over the border are making every state a border state.
Fetterman believes in a bipartisan, “compassionate” solution to immigration.