Mehmet Oz asked a woman in the front row if he could check her blood pressure.

“What’s getting your blood pressure up these days?” he asked as he led her to a chair at center stage Thursday in a West Chester banquet hall.

“Everything is so wrong,” Joy Cahaley, a retired toll booth operator, said as she got emotional. “I have a granddaughter now, so I worry a lot about our kids. We have to be able to think for ourselves, believe in what we want, and believe in our freedoms.”

Oz wrapped an arm around her, unstrapped the pressure cuff, and said her blood pressure was, in fact, quite high: 165 over 85. The audience gasped.

“It’s OK, it’s OK,” he said. “It was a more tense moment than usual.”

Oz knows how to create TV moments, having done so for years as one of America’s most recognizable celebrity doctors. Now he’s working them into his Republican campaign for Senate in Pennsylvania.

On Thursday, his “Dose of Reality” tour arrived in the Philadelphia suburbs, where he touted his conservative bona fides to about 200 voters. Long accustomed to pitching vitamin supplements, miracle fat burners, and nutritional tips — as well as often misleading and sometimes untrue medical advice — now he’s arguing that his background as a celebrity physician who has challenged the Food and Drug Administration and the medical establishment would make him a good senator.

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The town hall at the Elks Banquet Facility in West Chester was almost a carbon copy of his TV show. Audience members faced him on three sides and two big “Dose of Reality” signs framed the stage. He walked around, mic in hand without notes, interacting with voters and lamenting how “Washington gets it wrong.”

“Washington has different values than us. Right?” he asked. “They don’t know Chester County. ... They don’t know your values, my values, our values. ... And I think we can do better than that. And because I’ve fought in this playground for a while, I understand what it takes: a bold, loud voice, well-organized, and an appeal that resonates at many levels.”

Oz, a longtime New Jersey resident who entered the race in December and moved to Montgomery County, is spending millions on TV ads to promote his candidacy and attack one of his top rivals, former hedge fund executive David McCormick. That spending has quickly established him as a top-tier candidate in the race, though polling remains sparse ahead of the May 17 primary.

He has said that he’s put $10 million of his own money into the campaign. It shows in the well-produced town halls he’s brought across the state, including in Erie, Lancaster, and Hershey over the last week.

Oz said Thursday that he grew up “less than 10 miles from Kennett Square” (he grew up in Wilmington), after his Turkish father, who also was doctor, immigrated to the area.

He said his TV show started at his wife’s suggestion that he share lesser-known health and medical advice. (He told the crowd he takes much credit for the rise in popularity of Greek yogurt and quinoa.)

“We began to break through in ways that I was so proud of,” he said. “And then I began to realize something:— There were strong, powerful groups who didn’t like what I was doing.”

His show took on the FDA over claims that there was arsenic in apple juice, something officials criticized Oz for but that later turned out to have some validity.

Oz was among the medical experts to tout the benefits of hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug pushed by former President Donald Trump as a treatment for COVID-19, despite insufficient evidence. After studies found the drug did not provide any benefit for treating COVID-19, Oz dialed back his endorsement.

» READ MORE: Mehmet Oz has peddled ‘fat burners’ and other pseudoscience

On Thursday, he lamented what he called a lack of research into the drug.

“President Trump mentioned it. It was dead in the water,” Oz said. He added, incorrectly: “Even today, two years later, we don’t know if it works. It’s never been allowed to be studied.”

Oz drew a connection between his show challenging big institutions and the need for that in Washington. It’s a sentiment that may resonate with Republican voters fatigued by COVID restrictions. He said shutdowns and vaccine mandates were a big part of why he decided to run.

He gave a shout-out to a local deli owner who defied early pandemic shutdown orders. “Those types of civil disobedience happen when people just reach a threshold where they say, ‘I’m not gonna let this happen to me, it’s wrong,’” Oz said.

He appealed to growing mistrust of tech companies with a story about a TikTok video he posted filling up his truck with gas and criticizing President Joe Biden over the high prices. He said it was taken down.

People are frustrated, he said, because “they can’t say what they see.”

Oz stressed that he’s against COVID-19 vaccine mandates but not the vaccines.

“We don’t know how long it stays in the body or what it does once it’s there. It’s an unknown,” he said, adding, “I feel pretty comfortable about it personally.”

» READ MORE: Mehmet Oz says he’s a Pa. resident now. So why’s he still hanging out in his New Jersey mansion?

Michael Brown, the second audience member to have his blood pressure checked by Oz (125 over 75), had only learned Oz was running through a text message inviting him to the event. He’s unsure if he’ll support Oz.

Brown, who grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, said the criticism that Oz isn’t from Pennsylvania doesn’t much bother him. “He’s here now,” Brown said. “Maybe if he didn’t come to this area, maybe if he wasn’t out campaigning.”

Anne Emerson, a caregiver from West Chester, said the most important thing to her is finding a candidate who’s a true conservative. Attack ads against Oz had her wondering about his ideology.

“We saw all the bad commercials and heard he was a RINO,” said Emerson, 57, using the acronym for Republican in Name Only. “But I thought he did a good job. He seemed real, he seemed sincere.”