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Donald Trump will rally for Doug Mastriano and Mehmet Oz in Wilkes-Barre next week

The rally comes a little more than two months out from the November general election when both Oz and Mastriano trail their Democratic opponents in polling and fund-raising.

Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and former President Donald Trump share the stage during a May rally in Greensburg.
Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and former President Donald Trump share the stage during a May rally in Greensburg.Read moreEMILY MATTHEWS / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Former President Donald Trump will appear at a Sept. 3 rally in Wilkes-Barre to boost Republican candidates Mehmet Oz and state Sen. Doug Mastriano in their key midterm election campaigns.

The rally at Mohegan Sun Arena comes a little more than two months before Election Day in a race where both Oz, the GOP’s Senate nominee, and Mastriano, the party’s gubernatorial nominee, trail their Democratic rivals in polling and fund-raising.

Trump’s Save America PAC announced the rally for “the entire Pennsylvania Trump Ticket,” on Friday. GOP congressional hopeful Jim Bognet, who is running in a rematch against U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, is also expected to attend.

Trump announced the rally in an email from his Save America PAC while Mastriano was at an event with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Pittsburgh.

While neither man has announced their candidacy, DeSantis is widely considered a potential 2024 GOP presidential rival to Trump.

» READ MORE: 3 big takeaways from Ron DeSantis’ Pennsylvania rally for Doug Mastriano

The rally announcement comes amid reports of Republicans, including Trump, questioning the strength of some of the party’s candidates running this year, and as some GOP candidates have struggled to match their Democratic opponents in fund-raising.

Oz, who trails Lt. Gov. John Fetterman by five to 10 points in the most recent polls, also lags Fetterman in fund-raising. Fetterman raised about $11 million last quarter, while Oz brought in just $3.8 million, including $2 million he gave his campaign.

Political action committees and national groups on both sides have said they will funnel millions into the Senate race in the state.

Fetterman has largely campaigned against Oz on social media, save for a large rally in Erie earlier this month. Oz has accused Fetterman of hiding from voters and has repeatedly pressured Fetterman to respond to his challenge of five debates, the earliest of which would be in early September.

Speeches at the Trump rally will begin at 4 p.m., with the former president slated to give remarks at 7 p.m.

Wilkes-Barre is in Luzerne County, which swung from voting for Democrat Barack Obama in 2012 to backing Trump in the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton. Luzerne voted narrowly for Trump again in 2020. The Northeastern Pennsylvania region is considered one of the most critical parts of the swing state.

President Joe Biden, who has roots in Scranton not far from Wilkes-Barre, will visit Wilkes-Barre on Aug. 30, a rescheduled trip after he had to cancel a visit in July when he was diagnosed with COVID-19. The president is expected to give remarks at Wilkes University about reducing gun crime.