Jeff Bartos, who co-chairs the Senate campaign for Pennsylvania Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, was seen on Wednesday at a fundraiser for Pennsylvania Democratic Attorney General and gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro, according to Politico.
Politico reported that Sheryl Bartos, the wife of Jeff Bartos, was a co-host for the “big-dollar Philadelphia fundraiser.” Jeff Bartos unsuccessfully ran for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor in 2018 and lost to Oz in the 2022 race for the Republican Senate nomination.
Politico said that the Bartos and Shapiro families, both of which are Jewish, have been longtime friends, and a subsequent report noted that Jeff Bartos was spotted at the fundraiser. A person familiar with Bartos’ thinking told the outlet that “he was proud to support his wife and was there at her request to accompany her.”
Oz, who is running against Pennsylvania Lt. Governor and Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, was among the most polarizing candidates for the Republican Senate nomination. Roughly 48% of voters maintained a “somewhat or strongly unfavorable opinion” of the candidate during the primary contest, according to a poll from Emerson College. Oz raised eyebrows last year following an interview in which he claimed to be “pro-life” with the exception of rape, incest, and “health for the mother.”
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, is likewise controversial. Though he appears to be more popular with conservatives, he has faced accusations of denying the 2020 election results.
A recent survey from Morning Call and Muhlenberg College found that Oz trails Fetterman by 5%, while Shapiro leads Mastriano by 11%. In another poll from CBS News and YouGov, Fetterman was supported by 52% of respondents, while Oz was backed by 47%. Voters also indicated a higher degree of favorability for the former candidate — 56% of Fetterman supporters said they are pulling the lever for him “mainly because” they like him, while only 15% of Oz voters said the same about their preferred candidate.
Democrats are hoping that Fetterman will add to a majority in the evenly divided Senate. However, Fetterman suffered a stroke days before the commonwealth’s primary election and has since stumbled and lost his train of thought during speeches at multiple campaign events. Roughly 41% of voters believe that Fetterman is not in “good enough health” to serve in office.
Meanwhile, the Fetterman campaign has repeatedly criticized Oz for his longtime residence in New Jersey. Only 33% of voters believe that Oz has been in Pennsylvania “long enough to understand the state’s issues.” While 71% of poll respondents said that they would have preferred “someone different” to headline the Republican ticket, 51% said the same about the Democratic ticket.
Due to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Keystone State — which has a Republican-led legislature — is likely to debate legislation related to abortion after the midterms. Mastriano is the author of the state’s heartbeat bill, which regulates abortion such that the procedure is not permitted to occur “after fetal heartbeat is detected” rather than the current limit of 24 weeks gestation.