Following weeks of speculation, Dr. Mehmet Oz officially declared his candidacy for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday.

In a Washington Examiner opinion column announcing the run, Oz highlighted his medical experience as the undercurrent for his campaign launch, while also indicating a policy focus on the ongoing national pandemic response.

“During the pandemic, I learned that when you mix politics and medicine, you get politics instead of solutions. That’s why I am running for the U.S. Senate: to help fix the problems and to help us heal,” Oz said.

On his website, Oz added in his announcement, “Covid-19 became an excuse for government and elite thinkers who controlled the means of communication, especially social media and our major news agencies, to suspend debate. Dissenting opinions from leading scholars, even Nobel Laureates, were cancelled and ridiculed so their ideas could not be disseminated.”

He continued, “Doctors were forbidden from prescribing legal medications for the first time in our nation’s history. I tried to fund clinical trials to re-purpose an already widely used drug for possible benefits against Covid-19, but they were banned. Instead, government mandated policies that caused unnecessary suffering.”

In a video posted to Twitter, Oz said he is running as a Conservative Republican.

Oz joins a crowded Republican primary in what is shaping up to be one of the nation’s most-watched midterm races. As a pivotal 2020 campaign battleground that tipped the scales for President Joe Biden, Pennsylvania’s Senate race is now slated to help determine which party controls the Senate in 2022.

The current field of leading Democratic candidates includes Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Rep. Conor Lamb, state representative Malcolm Kenyatta and Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, who is also a physician.

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