GOP groups spend $6.2 million in Oz-Fetterman Senate race in Pennsylvania as polls tighten in final two weeks
- Republican political action committees announced $6.2 million in new spending in the Pennsylvania Senate race between Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Trump-backed Dr. Mehmet Oz.
- The latest GOP investment in the Keystone State came hours before Fetterman and Oz were set to face off in their one and only debate.
- Fetterman, who is still recovering from a debilitating stroke suffered in May, has tempered expectations ahead of the face-off with Oz, a longtime talk-show host.
Republican political action committees announced more than $6 million in new spending in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, two weeks before the state's pivotal Senate race could decide which party controls the upper chamber of Congress.
Two PACs, American Crossroads and the Faith and Power PAC, are respectively pouring $3 million and $3.2 million into Pennsylvania. Both groups are linked to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The PAC confirmed the figures to CNBC.
The spending, first reported by Politico, will fund ads beginning Tuesday that will last through Election Day on Nov. 8, a spokesperson for the Senate Leadership Fund told CNBC.
The GOP groups announced the investment in the Keystone State hours before the one and only debate between Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman, Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor, and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz was scheduled to take place.
It also came days after the Senate Leadership Fund abruptly canceled millions of dollars it had reserved in another Senate race in New Hampshire.
The reallocation shows Republican leadership banking on Oz, a first-time Senate candidate who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, to prevail in a contest that many in both parties see as the most important race of the midterms.
"Dr. Oz is surging, but Democrats are throwing a barrage of late spending into Pennsylvania to stop his momentum," Senate Leadership Fund President Steven Law said in a statement to CNBC.
"This is a must-win race where we have to consolidate our firepower to ensure Oz gets over the top. We believe if we win Pennsylvania, we win the majority," Law said.
Fetterman and Oz are competing for the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey. The seat in the swing state, which President Joe Biden won over Trump in the 2020 presidential contest, is considered Democrats' best opportunity to gain a seat in the Senate as they try to cling to their majority in an unfavorable election cycle.
Oz has trailed Fetterman throughout the general election — but polls in recent weeks have tightened considerably. Some surveys now show the race tied or within the margins of error.
Fetterman, who is still recovering from a debilitating stroke suffered in May, has tempered expectations ahead of the face-off with Oz, a longtime talk-show host.
"We'll admit — this isn't John's format," Fetterman campaign aides said in a memo sent to reporters Monday, NBC News reported.
Fetterman's primary care physician wrote last week that the candidate "has no work restrictions" and "spoke intelligently without cognitive deficits" during a recent appointment.
But the doctor noted that, due to Fetterman's lingering issues with auditory processing, he will occasionally "miss" words, which makes it seem like he doesn't hear all of the words being spoken to him.
Fetterman has given few interviews since returning to the campaign trail three months after his stroke. In them, he has used a closed-captioning system in order to fully understand the questions he is being asked.
His campaign warned Monday that the use of closed-captioning during the debate could lead to some awkward pauses and some transcription errors.
"We are prepared for Oz's allies and right-wing media to circulate malicious viral videos after the debate that try to paint John in a negative light," they wrote in the memo.