Oz Shifts Strategy for the General
Pay no attention to the endorsement behind the candidate.
There is a trope in American politics that in the primary you run right (or left) and then tack to the middle for the general election. PA Senate candidate Mehmet Oz appears to be trying a version of this tactic: go MAGA for the primary, and then tack away for the general. This is the interpretation of an Axios piece: Oz drops Trump branding in general election shift.
Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, is quietly shifting his campaign messaging away from former President Trump as he transitions into what’s likely to be one of the most hotly contested Senate elections of the midterms.
That was the strategy employed by Virginia’s Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, during his successful campaign last year.
It will be interesting to see to what degree Oz does, in fact, try to shy away from the MAGA in the general election or if this is an over-interpretation by Axios.
Still, it does look pretty deliberate:
*Oz’s social media banners now say “Thank you, Pennsylvania,” and feature a solo photo of him without Trump. His website no longer has a pop-up fundraiser appeal touting his Trump endorsement.
*Oz’s Twitter bio no longer advertises him as the “Trump Endorsed Candidate for U.S. Senate,” and he hasn’t tweeted about Trump since May 17.
*Oz’s campaign hasn’t run Facebook ads since the primary, and on Google his only general election ad reads, “The PA Senate Race will determine who has the majority. Donate to take back the US Senate!”
*Even on the Trump-run social media site Truth Social, Oz hasn’t posted about Trump since the primary — though he still touts his Trump endorsement in his bio.
It makes sense that in a competitive race in a swing state that he would try to shed Trump as much as he can get away with, but the question remains as to how much it is really possible to play this game in the modern media environment. Plus, Trump and his endorsement were incredibly central to the GOP primary, so it seems to me that it will be harder to downplay it than just tweaking social media and the web page.
Dont think it will matter that much. The Dems opposition ads will do their best to tie him to Trump so the impression that he aligns with Trump will remain. At the margins might decrease turnout for him a bit if they arent convinced he is a true MAGAt but they will still turn out, I think, to make sure we dont force all of our kids to be gay or trans and teach them to hate white people.
With apologies to Monty Python…RUN AWAY!!!!!
Oz is being embarrassed by Fetterman. He has to do something.
Of similar interest; it is being reported this morning that DeSantis is not looking for Trump’s endorsement in the FL Governors race. Currently he is leading Crist by 8.8%. Once Crist consolidates Fried’s supporters (he is trouncing her in the polls) that could be a horse-race. The Democratic primary isn’t held until late August.
A post at The Bulwark this morning has Oz down 9 points to Fetterman and in particular doing poorly in the suburbs while trailing Mastriano numbers in red counties. While Fetterman is actually doing well for a Dem in the same counties. So yes, Oz needs a different message.
His problem is that the MAGAts range from suspicious to hate him, so any move to the middle may trigger a backlash amongst them.
Fetterman’s ads shouldn’t just tie Oz to Trump, they should make an issue of his abandonment of Trump. First, that won’t sit well with the MAGAts. Second, Trump may turn on him. Third, Oz may be forced to run back to Trump. All good.
From the article:
Oz can run away from Trump, but he needs to be damaged by the premise that his election will help the GOP gain control of the Senate. The Jan 6 hearings, properly understood and communicated, have made that threat to the country even clearer than it was before. In the words of respected conservative judge J Michael Luttig: “Almost two years after that fateful day … Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy.”
Luttig’s words need to be integrated into every congressional campaign ad this cycle.
@Scott F.: Exactly. And I hope Oz’s turn away from Trump is more than the conventional tack to the center and also partly driven by the 1/6 hearings.
I’ve worried that the Committee was taking too long, but there’s conventional wisdom the electorate has an attention span of six months. We’re out five from the mid-terms.
@Michael Reynolds: Your strategy is dead on, but hard to pull off. Fetter man has got to tie him to everything bad about Trump while simultaneously talking about how he dumped MAGAs as soon as he didn’t need them anymore. Not easy.
Well, everything trump touches turns to sh*t. Dr. Oz was already halfway there.
The Trumpkins are very, very unhappy that Trump endorsed Katie Britt.
They don’t seem to understand that Trump endorses people purely on the basis of whether they kowtow to him. They blame it on Trump getting “bad advice.”
I frequently find that flawed humans fail to appreciate my genius and are too incompetent to execute my vision. (I really should have a white cat to stroke as I write that.)
@MarkedMan: This is why we have opaque fundraising for independent political groups. No one has to know that Patriots For Pedo Free Pennsylvania is tied to Democrats, and with micro-targeted ads, you can even keep it out of the mainstream.
There’s a small, distinct set of people who need to know that Dr. Oz is abandoning Trump, and it’s probably due to his ties to Hollywood. Why hasn’t Dr. Oz shown us the flight records to prove he never went to Epstein’s island? What is he hiding?
A helping hand is at the end of your arm.
“I frequently find that flawed humans fail to appreciate my genius and are too incompetent to execute my vision. (I really should have a white cat to stroke as I write that.)”
Actually, a red hat would be more appropriate.