Mehmet Oz had an explanation when asked Monday night about the fundraising gap between him and John Fetterman. Only he glossed over months of data.
Oz, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that the millions of campaign dollars separating him from Fetterman, the Democratic candidate, are due to Democrats pinning down supporters on issues such as abortion and firearms.
“The Democrats have very smartly taken all of these issues that have come up over the summer, the Dobbs decision, gun concerns, and they used them as excuses to raise money from Democratic loyalists,” Oz said when asked to explain why Fetterman, the lieutenant governor, far exceeds the famous surgeon in donations. “And interestingly, when Republicans get mad, we go out and mow the lawn. Democrats, when they get mad, give the party money.
But Fetterman outbid Oz long before June 24 Dobbs vs. Jackson Supreme Court ruling overturning the constitutional right to abortion and the May 24 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The candidates have taken completely different paths when it comes to funding their campaigns.
READ MORE: What we learned from our first look at fundraising in key Pennsylvania Senate, House races
Fetterman relied on an army of small-dollar supporters who handed out checks for $10 or $20, while Oz mostly paid for his campaign himself, raising relatively little for such an important race with national implications. .
The donations not only help pay for what could be one of the most expensive — and crucial — Senate races in the country, but also hint at the enthusiasm generated by the candidates.
Fetterman raised $11 million in April, May and June, according to public disclosures filed Friday. And while he and other Democrats have lobbied aggressively for donations because of their opposition to the Dobbs decision, this decision came just days before the end of the three-month cycle. He had $5.5 million in his campaign account as of June 30, five times more than Oz.
Oz, in the same three months, raised $1.7 million — and loaned his campaign $3.2 million. Since joining the race on November 30, Oz has loaned his campaign $14.25 million while raising $4.1 million from his supporters.
Fetterman joined the race earlier (February 2021), and Oz had the downside of a lengthy primary recount that kept him from officially securing the GOP nomination until early June. But Fetterman has long proven to be a fundraising force, bringing in $26 million since joining the race, most long before the abortion decision or Uvalde shooting.
Oz argued on Fox that he didn’t need that much money, “because I’m a better candidate.”
He pointed out that he had been on the campaign trail, including a recent visit to Philadelphia, while Fetterman had been out of public view for more than two months after suffering a stroke on May 13.
“John Fetterman has been in hiding from voters for the past two months,” Oz told Ingraham, who sharply criticized the surgeon in the GOP primary. “He stayed focused on these sarcastic messages written by consultants. And no candidate for office in either party should be immune to scrutiny.
READ MORE: Mehmet Oz stopped by barbershops, the West Philly Jazz Festival and a GOP BBQ while campaigning in Philadelphia
Fetterman began making a few brief appearances on the track, but so far only at events closed to the general public and media. He must be at Wynnewood on Thursday — for a fundraiser organized by Democratic Jewish Outreach of Pennsylvania. Donors were asked to donate a minimum of $100.
Staff writers Aseem Shukla and Jonathan Lai contributed to this article.