By Julia Terruso
PHILADELPHIA – The Pennsylvania Senate campaign is in full trolling mode.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s campaign released a video on Thursday of Jersey Shore celebrity Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi playfully chiding Republican opponent Mehmet Oz as a fellow New Jerseyan who would “soon be home.”
“I heard that you moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to look for a new job,” Polizzi says in the video. “Personally, I don’t know why anyone would want to leave Jersey because it’s like the best place ever and we’re all hot messes.
“I know you’re away from home and you’re in a new place, but Jersey will not forget you. … And don’t worry, because you’ll be back home in Jersey soon. This is only temporary.”
The campaign paid $393.75 for the video on Cameo, a platform where celebrities sell personal greetings. As of Friday morning, it had more than 2 million views.
Cameo has more than 20,000 actors, athletes, musicians, and reality TV stars available for messages, and some candidates have used the service to promote their campaigns or as a way to buy endorsements.
Oz and his wife moved to Pennsylvania in late 2020, moving in with his in-laws in Montgomery County, where he later bought a home.
Oz’s campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment on Snooki, but Oz retweeted the video with a screenshot from news coverage of a 2013 incident in which Fetterman, while armed, chased down a Black jogger who he wrongly suspected of a shooting.
“Doesn’t cost $300 for this video,” Oz wrote.
It was the latest in what’s become a Senate battle increasingly fought with viral videos, snarky tweets and gimmicks, particularly on Fetterman’s side, as he tries to portray Oz as a phony who doesn’t understand Pennsylvania. Last weekend, Fetterman’s campaign hired a plane to fly a banner over beachgoers at the Shore, taunting Oz with the message: HEY DR. OZ, WELCOME HOME TO NJ! 3 JOHN. When the Daily Beast headlined a story “Could John Fetterman S–post his way to the Senate,” Fetterman tweeted, “I mean we sure are trying.”
“We know this is going to be a hard year for Democrats,” senior adviser Rebecca Katz said. “A typical Democrat running a typical race would not win in this climate.”
While the messaging has drawn attention on Twitter, Oz’s campaign has argued that such online moments can’t make up for Fetterman’s absence from the trail. Since suffering a stroke May 13, Fetterman has made one public campaign-related appearance in the past two months, popping into a volunteer event on Saturday for a brief greeting.
His campaign has said a full return will come “soon.”
Oz welcomed Fetterman back to the trail with some trolling of his own on Thursday. In a video released three minutes before the Snooki Cameo landed, Oz laces up his sneakers and talks to the camera while jogging, a not-so-subtle contrast between the candidates’ current health situations.
“As a surgeon who’s performed thousands of those operations, I know how scary that can be for a patient,” Oz said of Fetterman’s stroke. “Now that he’s back, John Fetterman can’t keep hiding from voters forever.”
“I’m glad Fetterman’s healthy so we can worry less about his heart and his hoodie and more about the crazy leftist ideas in his head,” Oz said.
Oz, who campaigned in Media this week, is expected to speak at a state Republican Party meeting in Valley Forge this weekend.
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