Mehmet Oz, the Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, called on his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, to participate in a debate in September after Fetterman suggested a singular October debate.
“The first debate has to be in September so we can allow voters to know who their candidates are right now,” Oz told Axios on Thursday. “Pick one of the debates in the next two, three weeks. So we can get this ball rolling.”
A spokesperson for Oz’s campaign noted that the Republican candidate is open to an October debate but believes there should also be a debate in September. Oz told Axios that he wants to debate his opponent before early voting, which begins on Sept. 19 in Pennsylvania, gets well underway.
Fetterman on Wednesday vowed to face-off against Oz sometime in mid-to-late October but did not give further details about the potential debate. Fetterman, who was criticized for failing to commit to any debates, has cited lingering issues with auditory processing from a stroke in May.
Recent polls have shown Fetterman leading Oz in the race for Pennsylvania’s senate seat, inspiring hope among Democrats. While Fetterman led Oz by only 4 points in a recent Emerson College poll, a separate Franklin and Marshall College poll found the Democrat leading by 14 points.
Nexstar Media Inc. has offered both candidates a debate, which Oz has agreed to participate in.