John Fetterman, the Democrat lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, defeated Republican celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz to represent the state in the Senate.
“It’s official. I will be the next U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania,” Fetterman tweeted after his victory was announced. “We bet on the people of Pennsylvania – and you didn’t let us down. And I won’t let you down. Thank you.”
This was Oz’s first campaign for elected office. During the Republican primary, opponent David McCormick hit Oz, who was born in the US but also holds Turkish citizenship, for having served in Turkey’s military and for voting in that country’s 2018 elections. These attacks questioning Oz’s loyalty to the US were criticized by some Republicans, with Sen. Lindsey Graham calling them “unsavory.”
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) national office, along with its Eastern Region and Pennsylvania local affiliates, had teamed up with the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) to run a grassroots campaign calling attention to Dr. Oz’s genocide denial and close ties with Turkey’s Erdogan regime.
In the weeks leading up to November 8th vote, the ANCA’s anti-Oz coalition led a series of protests in Pennsylvania and California, sounding alarm bells about Dr. Oz’s ties to the Turkish Government and his persistent refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Following a protest in front of Dr. Oz’s abandoned campaign headquarters, ANC of Pennsylvania Co-Chair Lorig Baronian told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Genocide denial has no place in the U.S. This should be against our morality and ethics as a nation. Finally, after 100-plus years, we had both chambers of U.S. Congress and President Biden affirm the reality of this atrocity. And now we have a candidate running for U.S. Senate who can’t even utter the words.”
In an op/ed in the Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach – “America’s Rabbi,” – who leads the World Values Network – and ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian jointly asked, “Will Dr. Mehmet Oz, a citizen of Turkey with reported ties to Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, clearly state that the Armenian Genocide occurred? The question is more than reasonable. It is essential in understanding the values he would bring to Congress.”
These concerns were spotlighted in news coverage by NBC News, the New York Post, Forbes, Daily Wire, Daily Caller, Breitbart, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, among others. A video spotlighting Dr. Oz’s Armenian Genocide denial – posted by the ANCA and HALC and produced by the Really American PAC – went viral with over 1.8 million views on Twitter. The ANCA has also called for a US Department of Justice investigation into whether Oz may be in violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 for his endorsement agreement with Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines, through which Oz provides “consulting services, certain media, and in-flight film appearances.”