Oz begins his campaign with a low-key approach to earning people’s votes and trust

BEAVER, Pennsylvania — To say Dr. Mehmet Oz‘s eyes lit up when he walked into Grandpa Joe’s Candy Store — a whimsical, old-fashioned candy store filled with nostalgia and a lot of sugary treats — and saw a large colorful display filled with his favorite confection, Pez, would be an understatement.

He picked out four different Pez containers for his grandchildren and one for himself and then went for several packets of refills. “Those are for the grandkids’ parents and myself. You always have to have refills, especially on long road trips,” he said with a broad smile.

Immediately, the customers, as well as the manager, found themselves impressed that the Montgomery County Republican and celebrity heart surgeon decided to make their hometown located along the confluence of the Beaver and Ohio rivers one of his first stops as he begins his general election campaign.

In fact, there were very few businesses along Third Street that Oz didn’t wander into unannounced Monday afternoon. The Republican nominee for Senate said this granular approach was the best way for him not just to get to know the residents and small business owners but also to listen to what their main concerns are heading into this November’s midterm elections.

The low-key event marked the beginning of his general election granular strategy to keep the seat in Republican hands — a victory that would help assure the party that it would gain the majority in the upper chamber in November.

Despite a two-week lull that kept the campaign from starting in earnest — he was in a near tie with primary rival David McCormick that led to an automatic recount — Oz still has a mobility advantage over Democrat John Fetterman, who is homebound after suffering a stroke followed by heart surgery.

The Fetterman campaign said the Democrat won’t be joining the campaign trail until sometime in July.

Oz said the first thing he learned on his walking tour occurred when the owner of a Beaver store told him baby formula isn’t the only thing not on his store shelves. “Tampons. There is a tampon shortage,” the owner of the store said, adding that he was told by the distributors they are out of stock and that he will be the last on the list to get any, as they go to the bigger chains first when, and if, they get them.

Like the beginning of the baby formula shortage, the tampon shortage has gone largely underreported in this country despite often putting an additional strain on women across the country. Its origins are based in high fuel costs, a lack of raw materials, and a supply chain on the brink of collapse.

Oz said it was just another additional burden on Main Street America that goes unaddressed by the Biden administration and has its roots in the government spending too much money. “Which has led to inflation, which has impacted so many things in people’s everyday lives,” Oz said.

“He’s already out of stock,” he said of the grocery store’s empty feminine hygiene aisle, “They told him it will be temporary, what do you mean temporary? What are women supposed to do in the meantime?”

Oz made stops in suburban Pittsburgh, talked with farmers and small business owners in Erie, plans to spend time in Cambria and Blair counties Wednesday, and he is then off to Lancaster, Scranton, and the collar counties around Philadelphia to finish off the week by Father’s Day on Sunday.

Oz said his campaign to earn voters’ trust can’t just be about being against Democrats or against Biden or Fetterman: “Voters want aspiration and ideas. They want you to show you can take them somewhere better, that you understand what is impacting them. That is why I am here,” he said.

The Cleveland native said he also knows that after his bitter battle with McCormick, bringing the party together is critical, which is why he said he did not showboat until the race was called and was grateful McCormick didn’t either.

“I’ve talked to Dave twice now. He’s very gracious, and I appreciate that on his part. I know that wasn’t easy to do when you are locked in a race that close. But he did it right, and I applaud him for that,” Oz said.

Unlike Kathy Barnette, the insurgent candidate who petered out in the final days and who said she would not support whomever the nominee would be if it wasn’t her, McCormick said he would do everything he could to help Oz in his effort to win the seat.

The most common concerns Oz received during his hourslong walk along Third Street were the price of gas, how inflation was impacting people’s budget and bottom line, and rising crime in the lingering aftermath of the Democrats’ “defund the police” movement that never went away.

Several people, such as Judy Cashdollar of Beaver and the Fantone family of Industry, switched their lifelong Democrat affiliation to Republican to vote for Oz in the primary last month.

His response to them was: “Thank you. I need you to talk to your friends, Democrats or independents, and tell them why this race is so important. I need their support to win in November, and I think my ideas and platform are much better for their lives than Fetterman’s.”

Source: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/oz-begins-his-campaign-with-a-low-key-approach-to-earning-peoples-votes-and-trust

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