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Fetterman says Dr. Oz crudites video spurred $500,000 donation blitz

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Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman speaks during a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, August 12, 2022.

Quinn Glabicki | Reuters

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s Senate campaign said it reaped a $500,000 fundraising windfall in only 24 hours after a much-mocked video of his opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, went viral.

The spike in donations between Monday and Tuesday afternoon was “well above” the campaign’s average rate, Fetterman’s communications director, Joe Calvello, told CNBC on Wednesday.

The campaign raked in $11 million within the previous fundraising quarter, Calvello noted. “$500,000 in sooner or later, it’s a pleasant bump,” he said.

The surge in contributions got here after a video suddenly recirculated online showing Oz walking in a food market, complaining in regards to the prices of ingredients needed to make a “crudites” platter, which is more commonly often called a vegetable platter.

The 38-second video, which was posted to Oz’s social media in April, opens with the candidate declaring, “I believed I’d do some grocery shopping.”

“I’m at Wegner’s,” Oz says, apparently combining the names of two separate grocery chains, Wegmans and Redner’s.

“My wife wants some vegetables for a crudites, right?” Oz says as he makes his way through the shop’s produce section, picking up packages of vegetables, guacamole and salsa and reading their prices.

“Guys, that is $20 for a crudites and that does not include the tequila. I mean, that is outrageous. And we got Joe Biden to thank for this,” Oz says.

Fetterman’s campaign seized on the video, holding it up as further evidence that the Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor was out of touch with average Pennsylvanians.

“Oz clearly has never been in a food market before. That is why that is resonating with supporters across Pennsylvania,” Fetterman’s campaign manager, Brendan McPhillips, said in a press release Tuesday night.

The campaign said that greater than $65,000 of the half-million haul was raised through sales of a sticker with the phrase, “Wegners: Allow them to eat Crudite” that was offered to donors.

Fetterman’s social media accounts this week have relentlessly mocked Oz for his use of the high-brow term crudites, a French word that is pronounced crew-di-tay. “If this looks [like] anything apart from a veggie tray to you, then I’m not your candidate,” said Fetterman, holding up a plastic container of vegetables, in a video tweeted from his account on Tuesday.

Oz’s campaign casts Fetterman as a far-left Democrat whose politics are too radical for Pennsylvania, a serious battleground state. Last week, Oz challenged Fetterman to five Senate debates, a move that might put a highlight on Fetterman’s monthslong absence from the campaign trail as he recovered from a stroke.

Despite his break day the campaign trail, polls show Fetterman holds a big lead over Oz with lower than three months before the November general election.

Republicans are hoping to regain majority control of the House and Senate within the midterms. Democrats hold the slimmest majority within the Senate, which is split 50-50 by party, giving Vice President Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote.

Also they are competing in an election cycle that’s historically tough for the incumbent president’s party. But recent political models suggest that Democrats are actually barely favored to maintain control of the upper chamber.

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