The recount of Pennsylvania’s photo-finish Republican Senate primary will not be revealed until June 8, but Democrats aren’t waiting to try to stain both possible winners, Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick.
The Democrats’ Senate campaign arm released prototypes of attack ads against both candidates on Thursday, leaning into the theme that Dr. Oz, the celebrity physician, and Mr. McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, are out-of-state carpetbaggers. The ads preview how the general election could unfold in one of the most critical midterm contests for Senate control.
The 30-second spots portray Dr. Oz, who held a tiny lead going into the recount and has declared himself the “presumptive” nominee, as “pretending to be from Pennsylvania.’’ Mr. McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, is attacked for having “moved from Connecticut to buy a Senate seat.”
The ad maker, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, is not paying for the spots to run on the airwaves or on digital screens; it offered them to the news media as previews of a paid campaign in the fall, and in the expectation that they would be shared on social media. Axios earlier reported on the ads.
The committee has reserved an initial $3 million for ads in Pennsylvania’s Senate race, where the retirement of Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican, has created an open seat.
The attacks — including that Dr. Oz is a Hollywood type who promoted dubious medical claims on television, and that Mr. McCormick is a friend of China’s who outsourced jobs at a Pittsburgh company — are likely already familiar to many Pennsylvania voters, who were barraged with the same material in the primary. Both of the super-wealthy candidates and their allies spent tens of millions of dollars in attack ads ahead of the May 17 primary.
Dr. Oz led by fewer than 1,000 votes, or .07 percent, when the recount began on Friday. Armies of lawyers for both candidates continue to scrap for every vote before county election boards and in court.
With the race in suspense for more than two weeks, the Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, has been largely out of the spotlight, which may benefit him politically as he recuperates from a stroke suffered just before Election Day. He has made no public appearances since then and has none currently planned. His campaign repeated this week that he is on the path to a full recovery, yet questions about his health have swirled as his campaign declined requests from reporters to speak with Mr. Fetterman or his doctors about his condition. On Tuesday, he posted to Twitter a short speech thanking Democratic House members from Pennsylvania for their endorsements.
A spokeswoman for Dr. Oz, Brittany Yanick, did not respond directly to the Democratic committee’s attack ad, but called the “Biden/Fetterman agenda” wrong for Pennsylvania. “John Fetterman’s radical agenda harms Pennsylvanians and makes our communities less safe,” she said.
Mr. McCormick’s campaign responded similarly, focusing on the “agenda of Biden and John Fetterman” but arguing that Mr. McCormick is the candidate best positioned to defeat Mr. Fetterman this fall.