Dr. Mehmet Oz may be putting down his stethoscope for the chance to step into the political arena. The TV personality and cardiothoracic surgeon is reportedly considering a run for U.S. Senate. Sources told TMZ that Oz — who is originally from Cleveland, Ohio but attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania and has served as a professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia University since 2001 — is "seriously considering" launching a bid for the open US Senate seat in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Senate seat in question is currently held by Republican Senator Pat Toomey. Toomey has served in the Senate since 2011, but will not be running for re-election. Those currently vying for the seat include Sean Parnell, a decorated Army veteran who is considered the leading Republican candidate, as well as lieutenant governor John Fetterman, a Democratic candidate. Oz is allegedly hoping to toss his name into the mix, with TMZ's sources claiming the TV doctor is "quite serious" about a political run and is currently "exploring what an endeavor of this nature would require in launching a campaign." While things are still early in the planning process, the sources confirmed Oz would enter the Senate race as a Republican.
TMZ's report was backed up by a report from the Washington Free Beacon, which reported Tuesday that Oz "has begun hiring a staff and reaching out to potential allies." Citing "influential Republicans familiar with his plans," the outlet claimed that it is still unclear when Oz "is planning an official announcement."
However, according to a representative for The Dr. Oz Show, those sources may be wrong. A rep for the show told PEOPLE that Oz "has no announcement at this time" regarding a potential run for office and is instead "currently focused" on his show. In a statement, the rep said, "Since last year, Dr. Oz has lived and voted in Pennsylvania where he attended school and has deep family ties," the spokesperson said. "Dr. Oz has received encouragement to run for the U.S. Senate, but is currently focused on our show and has no announcement at this time." Oz himself has not publicly addressed the rumors.
Oz, of course, is best known for his daytime talk show The Dr. Oz Show. The series was picked up for a 13th and 14th season last year, meaning it is confirmed to run through at least the 2022-23 television season.