The celebrity TV doctor made the announcement Tuesday, rolling out a video he shared with his millions of followers on social media.
Oz, 61, announced his intention to run Tuesday after early GOP front-runner Sean Parnell pulled out his campaign amid allegations he abused his estranged wife and three children.
Mehmet Oz, a Republican, will self-fund part of his campaign and is planning to “put significant resources” into the battleground state race, campaign manager Casey Contres said.
The heart surgeon turned syndicated TV host frequently made use of medical language to explain why the COVID-19 crisis inspired him to enter the crowded primary field, in the brief interview, his first as a candidate.
“Flattening the curve metastasized into authoritarian overreach,” Oz spoke of the COVID-19 lockdown. “They’re treating the same overreach with the Omicron … I think these choices should be yours.”
“Any government that’s large enough to give you everything is large enough to take it away,” the candidate stated.
The son of Turkish immigrants also promised to reinvigorate what he called the country’s “can-do spirit” and “divine spark,” which he said inspired him to live the “American dream.”
“I think this country has all the building blocks to be spectacular. The infighting is hurting our ability to do what is possible,” Oz went on to note. “People with good ideas are shamed, they’re silenced, they’re canceled, they’re bullied.”
Oz is a longtime New Jersey resident who registered to vote in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County as a Republican last December, according to election records. He responded to carpetbagger accusations by pointing out that he has deep family ties in the state and moved back last year.
“With the leading candidate getting out, that’s certainly going to create a reshuffling of the race here,” Sam DeMarco, chair of the Allegheny County Republican Party, told the Associated Press.