Despite weeks of attack salvos – and a reported $15-plus million TV barrage against Dr. Mehmet Oz, the latest Emerson poll shows the celebrity physician is tied with multimillionaire opponent David McCormick in Pennsylvania's Republican Senate primary.
According to the just-completed Emerson College poll among likely Republican voters in the Keystone State, Oz and McCormick are tied with 14% of the vote each.
A top Republican strategist said the results showed "the McCormick spend was effective in bringing Oz's numbers down, but did little in bringing McCormick's numbers up."
Emerson also showed three other Republicans vying for nomination in the May 17 primary in single-digits with 51% of likely GOP voters undecided.
These figures come as four of the five contenders to succeed retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., meet Saturday in debate at the annual Pennsylvania Leadership Conference (PLC) in Harrisburg.
McCormick is the only "no show" among the contenders, and at the venerable PLC — after 33 years, the premier conclave of conservatives in Pennsylvania and historically a "must" stop for aspiring GOP candidates.
McCormick failure to rise as Oz has been pummeled has been credited to the businessman's decision to make himself low profile, even avoiding most press interviews.
PLC organizers say they were upset by McCormick's last minute cancellation to appear.
"Some of our folks were pretty upset about McCormick canceling on us and we seriously discussed putting a stuffed rhinoceros in his empty chair," said one of the PLC organizers, suggesting McCormick is a RINO (a pejorative acronym for Republican in name only).
McCormick's campaign has insisted he had a schedule conflict.
In recent weeks, several independent PACs and others have unleashed strong attack media against Oz and slammed the popular TV physician on his failure to immediately renounce his dual citizenship with Turkey. Oz has said he would do so if elected.
Emerson also showed 61% of likely Republican voters said Donald Trump's endorsement would make them very likely to vote for a candidate, while only 13% said it would have no impact on their vote.
Although the former president is a longtime personal friend of Oz, he has thus far been neutral in the primary.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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