Dr. Oz's Senate candidacy reveals his wealth

Television made Dr. Oz rich, but now we have a better idea of ​​his wealth. Famous doctor Mehmet Oz, whose television career was launch...


Television made Dr. Oz rich, but now we have a better idea of ​​his wealth.

Famous doctor Mehmet Oz, whose television career was launched by Oprah Winfrey and who gave it up to run for the Pennsylvania Senate, has a personal fortune of $76 million to $300 million, he has revealed Wednesday evening in a government file.

Assets, which Oz owns alone or jointly with his wife, include a large private investment in Pennsylvania’s iconic gas and convenience chain Wawa, as well as remote properties in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida and Turkey, where his parents emigrated from before he was born.

Last year, Oz bought a beef farm in Okeechobee, Florida, whose cows are worth up to $500,000. A home he owns in Palm Beach, Florida is valued between $5 million and $25 million. Precise numbers cannot be determined because financial disclosure, required under federal law, calls for asset values ​​across a wide range.

But this is clear: if elected, Oz would be one of the wealthiest members of the Senate. Building on his stardom, he used his fortune to propel himself to the top of the Republican field in one of the country’s most expensive primary races. He invested $5.3 million of his own money last year, and he may well say he added more in a new campaign filing later this month.

Oz, 61, is vying for the GOP nomination in what is widely seen as one of the nation’s most crucial Senate races, to fill the seat of retired Republican Pat Toomey. Republicans see it as an unavoidable race for control of the Senate. Democrats see Pennsylvania, which President Biden narrowly won in 2020, as a chance to make up for potential losses to party bigwigs. vulnerable holders in states like Georgia and Arizona.

To reach the general election, Oz will have to emerge victorious from a nasty tussle with another super-rich first-time candidate, David McCormick, the former chief executive of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. McCormick, who has yet to file a financial disclosure statement, must do so at least 30 days before the May 17 primary.

Together, Oz, McCormick and several super PACs funded by their wealthy supporters fueled the rivalry with more than $37 million in advertising, much of it on television, according to Ad Impact. Pro-McCormick super PACs took on Oz as a liberal closet. An Oz-supporting super PAC denounced McCormick as sweet with china.

Although Oz is often critical of Big Tech on the campaign trail and has sought to appeal to Trump-centric primary voters by opposing “big government, big media, and big business,” his disclosure shows that he has huge investments in some of the biggest companies in the country. , including Amazon, Apple and Alphabet.

Prior to running for office, he hosted “The Dr. Oz Show” on daytime television for more than 12 years, which he co-produced with Winfrey’s company. He said he earned $2.2 million last year as the show’s host and supervising producer and another $7 million as owner of Oz Media, which co-produced the show. It ceased broadcasting in January.

Another source of income in 2021 was paid speaking: Oz earned $120,000 to speak at a medical foundation in Texas and $125,000 to speak at the American Pistachio Growers trade association in California. (He once promoted pistachio protein shake through his show.)

At a forum for Republican Senate candidates last week, Oz said he willingly walked away from his lucrative show and spinoffs to run for public office. “I decided to burn the boats,” he said. “Drop a TV show – the best health show in the world. Thirteen years. Ten Emmys. Stop all the books. I sold 20 million books, probably. Stop the companies.

He said the choice was “almost cathartic” because public service was “perhaps the most important contribution you will make”.

After clashing on air, Oz and McCormick finally met on the same stage at the corporate-sponsored forum, held in Erie. McCormick swept aside his rival over his stance on fracking, a major issue in energy-rich Pennsylvania.

“Mehmet, on your shows and in your columns, you’ve been advocating for more regulation in fracking,” McCormick said. “You argued that fracking has health effects. And you advocated for a moratorium in Pennsylvania.

“It’s a lie and you know it’s a lie,” Oz objected. “You ran these ads over and over again claiming things you know are dishonest.”

The moderator stifled the back and forth, reminding the contestants that the forum was not a debate and that they had agreed to rules prohibiting personal criticism.

Two other GOP Senate candidates in attendance, Jeff Bartos and Kathy Barnette, expressed deep frustration that their efforts to storm the state, meeting voters face to face, were being overshadowed by the high-priced televised air war between Oz and McCormick.

With less than six weeks until the primary, nothing can stop the dominance of the ultra-rich candidates.

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  • Our colleague Jonathan Weisman reflects an expanding legal effort disqualify from re-election lawmakers who participated in the events surrounding the Capitol Riot. Today, a group of voters and a progressive group filed a lawsuit against three elected officials in Arizona to bar them from running again under the 14th Amendment.

  • And speaker Nancy Pelosi tested positive for coronavirusjoin a series of senior officials in Washington who have been infected in recent days.

how they run

When one of the Republican candidates for a congressional seat in New Jersey was arrested recently after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, he rolled out a new defense: “You know I’m running for Congress in this district, right?”

You wouldn’t necessarily know from looks alone. A gym owner who won a sequel for defying state coronavirus restrictions – at one point called Governor Phil Murphy a ‘ball of mud’ – Ian Smith does not cut the figure of a traditional Republican candidate.

Heavily muscled, with a long beard and tattooed shoulders which he flaunts while wearing camouflage tank tops, Smith is what you might call a Marjorie Taylor Greene Republican – an unusual cocktail of fitness, anti-government sentiment and skepticism about foreign intervention. He would look more at home in an episode of “Duck Dynasty” than in a congressional hearing.

“I’m not part of the establishment,” Smith said when launch its campaign in February. “People are looking for something different. They crave something different.

In the Trump era, Smith’s path to office once seemed almost plausible. He had a passionate and committed supporter base driven by lockdowns and mask mandates, and had raised thousands of dollars online to fund his legal battles with the state government. And after all, in the 2021 legislative election in New Jersey, an unknown trucker dethroned the longest-serving president of the state senate.

“Let’s face it, not many people are running in these primaries,” said Micah Rasmussen, who directs the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University.

According to a March 27 police report of the incident, Smith’s Ford pickup truck was pulled over after it “failed to maintain its lane.” The officer at the scene said he smelled alcohol on Smith’s breath and his eyes were “bloodshot and watery”. Smith failed a roadside sobriety test, then refused a breathalyzer test at the station and was handed over to a “sober third party”.

Smith disputes that he was drunk and denies failing the sobriety test. A consultant for his campaign, Steve Kush, said it “looked like he was walking in a straight line” in the video released by the Cinnaminson Township Police Department.

As for the comment about being a candidate, Kush said, “What he was trying to say was, ‘I’m running for Congress, I wouldn’t do something that stupid. “” Kush added: “He will have his day in court, he will be exonerated and everyone will owe Ian a big apology.

Smith is running against Rep. Andy Kim, the incumbent Democrat, in New Jersey’s redesigned Third District, which bisects the state east of Philadelphia. Prior to the redistricting, Kim was considered one of the most vulnerable members of Congress. His new neighborhood is much friendlier Democrat territory.

Smith has always faced long odds. In 2007, he was convicted of manslaughter after hitting and killing a teenager while drunk and served time in prison. He spoke about the accident in a Instagram Videoin which he said he accepted “full responsibility” and said anyone who hated him was “completely justified”.

He contrasts sharply with Kim, whose most famous moment in power was an expression of modesty: a viral picture captured of congressman on all fours, cleaning up rubble from the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Kim faces a slightly more plausible Republican challenger in Robert Healeya yoga instructor who owns a yacht manufacturing business and was once the lead singer of a punk rock band called the Ghouls.

Is there anything you think we’re missing? Something you want to see more? We would love to hear from you. Email us at onpolitics@nytimes.com.



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