Oz drops the Trump brand in the general election

Oz campaign website on April 15 (left) and June 18 (right). Source: Internet Archive

Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, is quietly distancing his campaign message from former President Trump as he moves into what is likely to be one of the most contested midterm Senate elections.

Why is this important: Oz’s transition to the general election highlights the tightrope many Trump-endorsed candidates have tried to walk — embracing the former president where it counts, while keeping him at arm’s length in situations where his brand is. toxic.

  • That was the strategy employed by Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin during his successful campaign last year.

The backdrop: Trump was a staple of the Oz primary campaign, appearing frequently in his ads that aired even before the former president endorsed him in mid-April.

  • After the endorsement, Trump was a near-ubiquitous feature in Oz spots — even a series of six-second gun, abortion and energy ads began with “endorsed by President Trump.”
  • The Oz Twitter Account mentioned Trump more than 70 times between approval on April 9 and the day of the primaries, May 17.
  • On Google and Facebook, the Oz campaign bought a barrage of Trump-focused ads during the primary.
  • His Facebook and Twitter accounts were both emblazoned during the primary with a cover photo of Trump and Oz with the words “endorsed by Trump,” and his website had a pop-up to let visitors know he was ” endorsed by Trump.
Twitter page of GOP Senate candidate Mehmet Oz on April 15 (left) and June 14 (right).  Source: Internet Archive
Oz’s Twitter account on April 15 (left) and June 14 (right). Source: Internet Archive

State of play: Oz’s ad campaign that aired after winning the Republican nomination did not mention or include footage of Trump – a stark departure from the tone of its main ads.

  • 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 fundraising appeal touting his endorsement of Trump.
  • Oz’s Twitter biography no longer lists him as the “Trump-endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate,” and he hasn’t tweeted about Trump since May 17.
  • The Oz campaign hasn’t run ads on Facebook since the primary, and on Google, its only ad for the general election reads: “The Palestinian Authority 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 endorsement of Trump in his biography.

What they say : “The endorsement is the first endorsement listed on our website and we’ve changed the banner to thank Pennsylvanians once the recount is complete,” Oz spokeswoman Brittany Yanick told Axios.

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