NBC News’ Dasha Burns caught up with Pennsylvania Republican Senate nominee Mehmet Oz for an interview on some of the biggest issues in the race against Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.
On his campaign’s comments about Fetterman: Confronted with his campaign’s harsh rhetoric about Fetterman’s stroke, Oz initially dodged. But when asked if he would ever talk to his patients like his campaign talks about Fetterman, he said “No.”
On crime: When asked what he could do specifically in the Senate to stem crime, Oz pivoted to the economy and education, arguing that school choice would help improve educational opportunity and building a new liquid natural gas facility in Philadelphia that would address “the poverty and lack of wealth in our communities.”
When pressed again on a list of issues, Oz said he didn’t support mandatory minimums because “judges should be empowered to make the difficult decisions.” He said he wants an “appropriate, harsh penalty for people especially bringing fentanyl into this country,” not closing the door on the death penalty. And he called President Biden’s recent decision to pardon thousands for simple federal marijuana possession “a rational move.”
On abortion: Oz said he feels “very strongly the federal government should not, I’ll repeat, should not get involved in state issues around abortion” because “I understand how difficult and sensitive it is.” When asked if he’d back South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s 15-week abortion ban, Oz reiterated those comments, adding “I don’t want any federal rules limiting what states do with abortion.”
On guns: Oz said he has “major concerns” about red flag laws, but added that “the national identification database that we have doesn’t get all the data into it that it needs.”
On Black Lives Matter: Asked whether he supports the Black Lives Matter movement, Oz said, “I don’t, because I think it was a hijacked effort to address some of the deep problems we have with race in America. And I don’t think the Black Lives movement did justice to the real struggle that we have.”
Elsewhere on the campaign trail:
Colorado Senate: American Policy Fund is adding another $4.6 million in ads backing Republican Joe O’Dea, per AdImpact.
Georgia Senate: Some of Republican Herschel Walker’s Black supporters say they are standing by the candidate despite controversy because they’re more concerned about control of the Senate, NBC News’ Curtis Bunn reports.
New Hampshire Senate: Vanity Fair reports that GOP Senate nominee Don Bolduc agreed with a Democratic operative posing as a Republican who said the disposal of embryos, which can occur during in vitro fertilization, is “disgusting” and kept the door open to supporting banning the practice. Bolduc’s campaign did not respond to Vanity Fair’s request for comment, but Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan responded by telling the outlet his comments amounted to a “stance against IVF.”
Nevada Senate: Nevada is the only Senate battleground where the candidates have not agreed on a debate, and NBC News’ Natasha Korecki reports on how that stalemate is unlikely to be resolved before Election Day.
Ohio Senate: Republican J.D. Vance says the campaign raised more than $6.9 million in the third quarter and has $3.3 million in cash on hand. And Democrats in the state are pressing the national party to invest in the race, per the Associated Press.
Wisconsin Senate: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes did six interviews on RT (Russia Today) in 2015 and 2016. The paper also looks at a fresh criticism against Johnson about a provision in the 2017 tax law that could allow Johnson’s family members to write off purchases of private planes.
New Mexico Governor: Republican nominee Mark Ronchetti is booking another $1.2 million in ads, per AdImpact.
Pennsylvania-12: Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle is reiterating that the Mike Doyle on the ballot this fall in this race is not him, but a Republican candidate not related to him who is running against Democrat Summer Lee.