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Democrat John Fetterman announced he will debate his Republican challenger Mehmet Oz ahead of the upcoming Pennsylvania Senate election between the two — though the date of the debate is unclear.
Fetterman’s commitment to a debate came during an interview with Politico, in which Fetterman, the current lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, said he is “absolutely going to debate Dr. Oz.”
“We’re absolutely going to debate Dr. Oz, and that was really always our intent to do that,” Fetterman said. “It was just simply only ever been about addressing some of the lingering issues of the stroke, the auditory processing, and we’re going to be able to work that out.”
While it is unclear which debate Fetterman will take part in, he said it will be featured on a “major television station” in the state and will take place “sometime in the middle to end of October.”
Following Fetterman’s commitment to engage with Oz in a debate, Brittany Yanick, the communications director for Oz’s senate campaign, released a statement claiming Fetterman had agreed to a “SECRET DEBATE.”
“BIG NEWS! John Fetterman has agreed to debate at a SECRET DEBATE. We don’t know WHERE. We don’t know WHEN. We don’t know HOW. It’s a big SECRET,” Yanick said.
“John Fetterman’s campaign is embarrassing themselves,” Yanick added. “Let’s be clear – Dr. Oz’s campaign won’t agree to a SECRET debate. It has to be a REAL one with REAL journalists asking REAL questions. Sorry John – imaginary debates don’t count!”
Fetterman’s announcement that he would participate in a debate with his GOP challenger in the race comes after he declined to take part in a debate during the first week of September, which the Oz campaign said was proof he was either not healthy enough to debate, or afraid to defend his policies. The Oz team said Fetterman’s refusal to debate was “insulting” Pennsylvania voters’ intelligence.
Last week, after Fetterman denied an invitation to a September debate and claimed he was “eager” to put his record up against Dr. Oz’s, Yanick questioned when he would be ready to debate.
“We heard John Fetterman won’t debate Oz in the ‘first week of September.’ OK, so when will he debate? He won’t ever say – not even in his latest whiny statement,” Yanick said. “John Fetterman’s campaign is insulting the intelligence of Pennsylvania voters.”
Oz took aim at Fetterman over his refusal to debate during a recent interview with Fox News Digital, saying that he is either scared to present his views to voters, or is unable to debate because of poor health following his stroke.
“John Fetterman has been ducking, dodging these debates, which is insulting to the voters of Pennsylvania,” Oz told Fox News Digital. “And he has to own the reasons for his desire to avoid a debate with me. Either he’s healthy, which he says he is, and doesn’t want to answer for his radical positions in past statements, or he’s lying about his health.”
“Either way, the voters of Pennsylvania deserve an answer, and I think they deserve that answer pretty quickly, since the absentee ballots will be mailed out in the next two to three weeks,” Oz added.
In February, Fetterman said in a tweet that debates were “an important part” of the Democratic primary for Senate.
“Debates are an important part of this primary,” Fetterman wrote in a February tweet, prior to the Democratic primary election for the Senate seat. “We believe voters deserve no fewer than three network televised debates – including all candidates who make the ballot – before major media markets across PA.”
Fox News’ Thomas Phippen contributed to this report.