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Mehmet Oz's Jersey ties may have sunk him in PA Senate race

Oz's Jersey ties may have sunk him in Pennsylvania Senate race
Oz's Jersey ties may have sunk him in Pennsylvania Senate race 02:48

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- John Fetterman's attack ads against Dr. Mehmet Oz painting the Republican candidate as an outsider from New Jersey may have succeeded, experts say. During the campaign, Fetterman continuously attacked Oz's ties to New Jersey both on social media and in TV ads.

The Fetterman vs. Oz contest was one of the most closely watched races in Pennsylvania and in the nation as well as one of the most expensive. CBS News projects Fetterman, a Democrat, as the winner of Pennsylvania's Senate race.

The race was neck-and-neck in the final days. Fetterman wasn't declared the winner until early Wednesday morning.

"I think it was definitely a big win for the Democrats in the state of Pennsylvania," Dr. Donna Patterson, professor and chair of the department of history, political science and philosophy at Delaware State University, said.  

Oz called Fetterman Wednesday to concede and wish him well personally and as the next U.S. senator in Pennsylvania.

Wearing his signature black hoodie, Fetterman gave a victory speech to his supporters early Wednesday morning in Pittsburgh after flipping the GOP-held Senate seat in Pennsylvania and turning it blue.

"I'm so humbled," Fetterman said. "Thank you so much, really thank you."

"This campaign has always been about fighting for everyone who has ever got knocked down and got back up," Fetterman said.

Democrat John Fetterman claims victory in Pa. Senate race 07:22

More than $300 million was spent on this race between Fetterman and Oz, making it the most expensive for a midterm U.S. Senate seat ever. The attack ads went both ways: Fetterman painted Oz as out of touch with the Keystone State, and Oz portrayed Fetterman as soft on crime.

"The last few weeks, I think it was kind of hard to know where the race would go," Patterson said.

Patterson says Oz closed the gap in the final weeks of the campaign targeting Fetterman's health after he survived a stroke.

But Fetterman depicting the celebrity surgeon Oz as an outsider from New Jersey was a big obstacle that Oz couldn't overcome, Patterson added.

"He poked fun at Oz at where he was living and showing his houses," Patterson said. "And the whole Wegmans thing. Are you in Redner's or are you in Wegmans and what that meant to people in Pennsylvania."

Patterson says abortion rights played a key role in this race and women helped catapult Fetterman to victory.

"Abortion and women's reproductive health access," Patterson said, "I think that really helped move some to Fetterman who may have not been with Fetterman initially."

Patterson says former President Barack Obama hitting the campaign trail also helped rally Black voters for Fetterman.

After weeks of attack ads, Oz conceded Wednesday.

Mehmet Oz John Fetterman Election Day Pennsylvania

In a statement, Oz said, in part, "We are facing big problems as a country and we need everyone to put down their partisan swords and focus on getting the job done. With bold leadership that brings people together, we can create real change."

Oz went on to say he hopes we can begin the healing process as a country.

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