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Philadelphia sports fans are the latest demographic that Democrat John Fetterman is trying to court in Pennsylvania’s hotly-contested Senate race.
Ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles’ primetime matchup with the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field, Fetterman purchased billboards on I-95, directly across from the Eagles’ home stadium. The billboards will face in both directions, northbound and southbound, and run through Monday, just in time for the game. The ad buy is Fetterman’s latest attempt to fend off Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz in a race that continues to get tighter and tighter.
“Now that Dr. Oz is running for office, he *acts* like he’s a real Philly sports fan,” Fetterman wrote on Twitter. “But we all know he’s really a Cowboys fan 🙄.Our beautiful new billboard at the Linc won’t let you Iggles fans forget it 🏈.”
Now that Dr. Oz is running for office, he *acts* like he’s a real Philly sports fan. But we all know he’s really a Cowboys fan 🙄
Our beautiful new billboard at the Linc won't let you Iggles fans forget it 🏈 pic.twitter.com/CIpe0FdtiG
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) October 11, 2022
“Dr. Oz is a Cowboys fan,” the billboard reads. “Elect a real Pennsylvanian. Vote Fetterman for Senate on Nov. 8th.” It also includes a photo of Oz dunking a football over a goalpost at AT&T Stadium, home of the Cowboys. The photo was taken from a 2013 tweet from Oz. “Doing my best to audition for the Cowboys while we have access to their facility during my 15 Minute Physical,” Oz wrote at the time.
Fetterman’s campaign manager, Brendan McPhillips, described the billboards to The Hill as another effort to portray Dr. Oz as an out-of-state carpetbagger. “This gets to the heart of who this guy really is,” McPhillips said. “He pretends to be a Cowboys fan when he’s in Dallas, but now that he’s running for office he tailgates at Eagles games like he’s a real Philly fan.”
Fetterman is attempting to court Eagles fans, who in addition to being notoriously rabid, have a tendency to mix sports and politics. During their Super Bowl run in 2018, fans berated former adviser to President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, when she tweeted in support of the team during the playoffs. After they won, fans mocked Trump with side-by-side photos of his inauguration and the Eagles’ Super Bowl parade. Eagles fans also mocked New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Cowboys fan, when he attended a game in Philadelphia with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
But Fetterman’s ad does not tell the whole story. The photo in Oz’s tweet came from a “Family Fitness Day” charity event the Cowboys hosted with Oz, in which he and more than 250 volunteers gave more than 800 physicals to people in the Dallas metro area, many of whom were military veterans and their families.
On the other hand, Oz himself has been an Eagles fan since before he ran for office. He posted a picture of himself in Eagles gear at an Eagles Super Bowl party in 2018, posted a video talking about his support for the team to Twitter in 2019, and posted several photos of him at a game on his social media pages in 2021.
The race between Fetterman and Oz continues to tighten; the RealClearPolitics average of polls shows that Fetterman maintains a razor-thin 3.7-point lead over Oz. No polls have been conducted in October so far, but one pollster suspects Oz may actually be running ahead of Fetterman, even though pollsters don’t want to say it yet. “Nobody wants to be first to put Oz in the lead,” Big Data Poll director Richard Baris said on his podcast, “What Are The Odds?” on Monday. “It’s just safer.”