Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz raised $17 million during the third quarter for his campaign in Pennsylvania.
Axios reported Tuesday that a campaign official told the publication that Oz will be reporting the windfall to the Federal Election Commission in his latest filing as he tries to win a seat in the key battleground state, which could determine the majority in that chamber.
Oz's opponent, Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, has not reported to the FEC since June, but the FEC website shows his campaign brought in $26 million with about $5.5 million in available cash as of June 30.
As of Sept. 14, Oz's campaign reports bringing in a total of $19 million with $15 million in loans and $1.1 million cash on hand, according to the FEC.
While Fetterman is outraising the television celebrity, Oz is getting help from the Senate Leadership Fund, backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., which has spent or reserved some $34 million in ad buys in Pennsylvania, Axios reported.
Jack Pandol, the fund's spokesman, told Axios that the GOP campaign ads focus on Fetterman's weak crime record.
The race appears to be tightening with Fetterman dropping from an 8.7-point advantage over Oz in August to 4.3 points now, according to the recent Real Clear Politics aggregate poll.
USA Today reports the candidates will square off in one debate Oct. 25 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which could swing the election either way.
Fetterman, who suffered a stroke in May and was out of commission on the campaign trail until August, needed awhile to schedule a debate with Oz as he was continuing to recover his hearing and speaking abilities due to that medical incident, according to the report.
The report said that the crime ads, financed by the McConnell-backed Senate fund, have taken a toll on Fetterman, dropping his favorability rating by 17 points, with 44% now viewing him as "unfavorable."
Meanwhile, Oz is facing his own favorability challenge with 51% viewing him unfavorably.
"If you can't get people to like you, get them to dislike your opponent," David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk Political Research Center told the news outlet. "This is a textbook strategy of Oz driving up his opponent's unfavorability to make the race closer."
According to the report, inflation and abortion rights are the two largest issues in the election this year, chosen by 44% and 25% of voters, respectively.
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