Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty
Dr. Mehmet Oz can't seem to catch a break this year — unless it involves taxes.
The Pennsylvania Senate candidate, who's lived in New Jersey for most of his life and previously made the Garden State a large part of his identity, has struggled to paint himself as anything but an outsider on the campaign trail. Now, news of a hefty tax exemption this year on his Palm Beach, Florida, mansion are making matters worse, and shedding light on previously overlooked ties to the coastal town.
The Miami Herald reported that after finishing a multimillion-dollar renovation to his Palm Beach oasis, Oz was approved for a tax break. Documents reviewed by the outlet reportedly show that the celebrity doctor stands to save around half a million dollars over the next decade as a result of the exemption.
Town of Palm Beach/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty
While critics of Oz have focused mostly on his New Jersey properties throughout the race, eyes have recently turned to the other non-Pennsylvania places he's called home. After Oz said that he only owns two "legitimate" houses, The Daily Beast dug into public records and reported that he owns 10 residential properties — one of them, of course, being the oceanside mansion in Palm Beach.
Oz's connection to Palm Beach appears to be extensive. In 2019, Palm Beach Illustrated named him the top physician in Palm Beach County. The year prior, Boca Raton magazine described him as a "part-time Palm Beach resident" when unpacking his routine in South Florida.
"Palm Beach is my 'chi' source, a place I come to regroup," he explained to Palm Beach Life magazine more than a decade ago.
While there's nothing inherently wrong with Oz spending time along the Florida coast, the Palm Beach news cycle feeds the characterization that his Senate opponent, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, has successfully been pushing: That Dr. Oz is an out-of-touch American who has little in common with Pennsylvanians.
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) August 26, 2022
That point became more clear than ever in recent weeks, when a campaign video of him shopping for crudités at a Pennsylvania supermarket went viral — partly because he was shopping for a posh-sounding appetizer and partly because he misnamed the local grocery store he was in, calling it Wegners instead of Redner's.
Fetterman capitalized on the moment, releasing a limited edition campaign sticker that read, "Wegners: Let Them Eat Crudité."
In an attempt to turn negative publicity around, the Oz campaign's communications director dug a deeper hole, telling Insider, "If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn't have had a major stroke and wouldn't be in the position of having to lie about it constantly." (Fetterman, 53, suffered a stroke as the result of a heart condition earlier this year, days before winning the Democratic nomination for Senate.)
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Oz, who has been endorsed by former President Trump, sits a few percentage points behind Fetterman in the race, according to recent polls by Emerson College and Franklin & Marshall.
As the two battle it out for a Senate seat previously occupied by a Republican, some — like Fetterman — have suggested that Oz's flailing reputation with Pennsylvanians is a direct result of his elitism.