Celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz’s reputation as a New Jerseyan certainly didn’t help his U.S. Senate campaign in Pennsylvania last year. But could it benefit the Republican if he were to run for office in the Garden State?
According to a recent Monmouth University poll, the answer is no. The poll found that just 24 percent of residents would like to see Oz run in New Jersey, while 66 percent would not. Only 51 percent of Republicans expressed interest in a hypothetical campaign.
Oz’s campaign, which still lists a Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania address online, did not immediately respond to inquiries regarding his future political plans.
“I have no idea if Oz is harboring any notions of using New Jersey as another political launching pad,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, one of the country’s top polling centers, “but it doesn’t look like he’s got enough fuel to take off.”
Oz lived in a multimillion-dollar home in Cliffside Park for two decades before he moved and changed his residency to his in-laws’ place in Bryn Athyn, Pennslyvania in late 2020 in hopes of winning a U.S. Senate seat. Backed by former President Donald Trump, he won the Republican primary in Pennsylvania by just 951 votes after more than 1.3 million were cast. But Democrat John Fetterman took Oz down in the general election with a 51–46 percent margin.
While Fetterman’s campaign tried to sway voters by highlighting Oz’s connection to Trump and views on abortion, among other issues, the Democrat also harped on the TV star’s ties to New Jersey. Such efforts included the Fetterman campaign enlisting help from celebrities like Steven Van Zandt and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and flying a banner over the Jersey Shore that read, “Hey Dr. Oz, Welcome Home To N.J.!”
“Nobody wants to see you get embarrassed,” Van Zandt, a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, said of Oz in a video posted to social media. “So come on back to Jersey where you belong, and we’ll have some fun, eh? We’ll go to the beach, we’ll go surfing.”
“I want to say, ‘Best of luck to you,'” Polizzi, a Jersey Shore star, trolled in another Fetterman campaign clip. “I know you’re away from home and you’re in a new place, but Jersey will not forget you.
“And don’t worry, because you’ll be back in Jersey soon. This is only temporary.”
While the Monmouth poll did not specify any particular type of office, 2024 would give Oz another shot at the Senate by way of New Jersey. Sitting Democratic Senator Bob Menendez will be up for re-election next year.
Oz has not made his next political ambitions—or where they will take place—clear yet, but there is one subset of New Jerseyans who wouldn’t mind a Garden State campaign. That would be the state’s Democratic coalition, which views Oz as vulnerable and unpopular after his Pennslyvania shortcomings.
“New Jersey Democrats would welcome a chance to beat Dr. Oz here as well and send him back to one of his other 10 houses,” Saily Avelenda, the executive director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, recently told the New Jersey Globe.
New Jersey Republicans tried to get Oz to run for Senate in 2006 and 2008, but he declined. He even told New Jersey Monthly he wasn’t considering a career in politics in 2010. Now it appears Oz’s candidacy is less viable—though, as he’s shown, things can change quickly in politics.
Monmouth’s poll, which surveyed 809 New Jersey adults from January 5-9 and cited a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points, made a few other notable findings regarding the state’s politics and politicians. Among them: 53 percent approve of the job Governor Phil Murphy is doing, while 35 percent disapprove; 46 percent approve of the job President Joe Biden is doing, while 48 percent disapprove; both of New Jersey’s Senators, Menendez and Cory Booker, received higher approval ratings than disapproval ratings—though Booker’s was far higher (54–39 percent); and only 20 percent of residents think former Governor Chris Christie would make a good president.
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