Three years ago, New Jersey’s glitterati gathered to toast the Garden State and honor 19 of its “most distinguished citizens” as they were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
One of the people getting that recognition was Martha Stewart. And she had another accomplished New Jersey celebrity to introduce her: Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz.
“She is funny, funny, funny, because she gets the joke. And that’s the important part about what she represents as a New Jerseyite, because New Jersey’s about that. It’s about resilience,” Oz said.
Oz also gave an interview at the event in which he played up his New Jersey ties, saying, “I’m from New Jersey. I appreciate all that our state offers, and we can take folks who made big coming from the state, you want to celebrate them.”
He then joked that he might get to be inducted someday:
Q: Who in the future would you like to see be inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame if you had to pick a few people?
Oz: I love athletes that are from New Jersey, people forget how great our sports teams are. But I’m talking about folks who have done great. Great surgeons. [laughter]
Home-state pride is lots of fun, but touting his love of New Jersey just three years ago is a little awkward now that Oz is running to be Pennsylvania’s next U.S. senator.
Oz’s campaign did not return a request for comment, but his “ties” to Pennsylvania have been constant fodder for attacks from his opponents, both in the GOP primary and now in the general election against Democrat John Fetterman, who is still recovering from a stroke he suffered in mid-May.
On Thursday, the Fetterman campaign continued to troll Oz on the issue, putting out a video by another New Jersey celebrity ― Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki of “Jersey Shore” fame. Snooki chided Oz for leaving New Jersey to go to Pennsylvania to “look for a new job.”
“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,” she said in the Cameo video. (On Cameo, people can pay for video messages from celebrities.)
Oz’s campaign bio says he lives in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. Oz jumped into the Pennsylvania Senate race in November 2021. He lived in northern New Jersey for three decades and, according to his campaign, moved to Pennsylvania in late 2020.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that public records show Oz didn’t buy a house in Pennsylvania until February 2022, but his campaign said he was living at his in-laws’ home ― which is in the state ― while his new house was being renovated.
The paper also pointed out that in the three months leading up to his campaign launch ― after he said he moved to the state ― more than 20 social media posts “appeared to show him at his Cliffside Park home [in New Jersey], some with New York in the background, others showing the interiors of the house that have been displayed in earlier video clips and magazine profiles.”
A campaign aide said at the time that Oz still filmed his TV show in New York City ― he has since stopped ― and frequently visited family living there.