JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — In an exclusive one-on-one interview in Johnstown, Dr. Mehmet Oz shares what issues he believes will decide this Senate race and answers criticism he’s faced in recent ads.

The polls between Dr. Oz and Democratic candidate John Fetterman have tightened leading into the final weeks of this race. Oz says he believes the race will come down to the issues of crime, the economy and the border.

Oz said, “Americans, and Pennsylvanians in particular, are concerned about the economy, crime and drugs. Drugs was the focus of our task force meeting today because so much of it is driven by failure at the federal level. But those kitchen table issues are what are plaguing Pennsylvania and what they’re going to ultimately vote on.”

Oz has been critical of Fetterman, claiming that he is soft on crime. Fetterman touts his time as mayor of Braddock where he says he worked hand-in-hand with police. He has said one of his proudest achievements was that the town went five and a half years without a gun death.

Across the state, Oz has been holding “Safer Streets” discussions with local leaders to talk about the issue of crime and drugs. He explained what he would do to address crime at the federal level by saying, “It starts with not making big mistakes like decriminalizing all drugs, which John Fetterman has advocated for, and creating heroin injection sites. When that was tried, which it has occurred in Oregon, something John Fetterman strongly supported over the last two years, a 40% increase in drug overdose deaths from decriminalizing drugs and a 50% increase in homicides because you created all this environment.”

Oregon decriminalized the possession of small amounts of drugs back in 2020. Fetterman has made his support known for the legalization of marijuana. A Philadelphia Inquirer article earlier this month references a FactCheck.org report in 2018 that points out Fetterman telling a podcast that he thinks public health leaders should consider all options “even safe injection sites.”

Fetterman has criticized Oz’s time on his television program where he talked about questionable treatments and supplements that were outlined in a Washington Post article.

Oz responded to that criticism and said, “This is a complete distraction. I never sold products of my show, and I would talk about things that were important for the American public to understand. Things that would allow you to do things that were better for you. If there were any pharmaceutical companies involved, they had to fully disclose because they’re running commercials. That’s what daytime television is very comfortable doing. And there are clear rules around it. I’m proud of what I did on the show.”

On the issue of abortion, Dr. Oz told WTAJ that he is pro-life with the exceptions of rape, incest and the life of the mother. He also said he would not support Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposed 15-week federal ban on abortion. Oz explained, “I do not think the federal government should be getting involved in what should be decided at the state level with all the local values percolating up to local democracy. Which, I trust to work here in Pennsylvania and everywhere else in America.”

Asked if he’d support any bill at the federal level that would limit abortions he replied, “I would not support a federal bill that would impose on the ability of states to make this important decision.”

WTAJ has repeatedly offered the same interview opportunity to the Fetterman campaign. They’ve responded, but at this time have been unable to commit to a one-on-one interview.