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Mehmet Oz is a top Senate candidate in Pennsylvania. What are his ties to the state?

The celebrity known as "Dr. Oz" says he moved to Pennsylvania last year, but more than 20 social media posts in the last three months show him in his North Jersey mansion.

Celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, a longtime New Jersey resident, announced his campaign for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania on Tuesday. This screen capture shows an image from his launch video.
Celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, a longtime New Jersey resident, announced his campaign for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania on Tuesday. This screen capture shows an image from his launch video.Read moreCampaign Video

Mehmet Oz lived in North Jersey for more than three decades. The celebrity known as “Dr. Oz” has invited magazines and TV cameras to his home overlooking the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline to showcase his lifestyle and advice.

Now he’s running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.

When he leapt into one of the country’s most crucial campaigns, Oz, a Republican, said he moved to the Keystone State in late 2020,specifically to the Montgomery County home owned by his wife’s parents. He registered to vote in Pennsylvania around the same time, has acquired a driver’s license, concealed carry gun permit, and medical license in the state, and is reminding voters that in the 1980s he graduated from business and medical school at the University of Pennsylvania.

» Follow our 2022 Pa. primary election live blog here

At the same time, Oz’s social media still frequently showed him at his North Jersey mansion, long after he said he moved to Pennsylvania. More than 20 posts in the three months leading up to his November campaign launch appeared to showhim at his Cliffside Park home, 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 noted that Oz has been filming his TV show in New York and that much of his family still lives in that area, so the “proud grandfather” still visits. Oz is also still an attending physician at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, he said.

“He likes to spend as much time with his family as he can so when they aren’t traveling here [in Pennsylvania], he spends time with them when he can,” said the aide, Casey Contres.

In April, months after this Dec. 2, 2021, story was initially published, a personal financial disclosure showed that Oz and his wife bought a home in the same Montgomery County town in which his in-laws live. Public records show the couple bought the house in February, paying $3.1 million for what lists as an 8-bedroom, 7½-bath home on 34 acres.

Oz was still living at his in-laws’ home while the new house is renovated, spokesperson Brittany Yanick said in February.

Legally, it’s hard to stop someone from running for Senate based on their residency: The rules set by the U.S. Constitution are intentionally loose. Politically, his ties to the state have quickly come under fire from Democrats and Republicans alike.

» READ MORE: Meet Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate candidates

Here’s what we know about Oz’s move to Pennsylvania:

When did Oz move?

Oz lived in North Jersey for more than 30 years. After starting in Fort Lee and then moving to nearby Cliffside Park in the 1990s, he and his wife bought property there in the early 2000s and built a 9,000-square-foot mansion with six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, arched windows, and a basketball court in the basement, according to a People magazine story about the home last year. His wife owns a 4,000-square-foot home next door, property records show.

Oz relocated to Montgomery County in late November or early December of 2020, according to a campaign aide. He pays “market price” rent at the Bryn Athyn home owned by his wife’s parents, the aide said. Oz registered to vote in late December using a Pennsylvania driver’s license, and his acquiring other permits and licenses suggests he has gone beyond simply securing an address. His wife, Lisa Oz, also registered to vote in the state.

Under state voting law, voters must have “the intention” of making their district “a permanent place of abode.”

Does Oz have previous ties to Pennsylvania?

He was raised in Wilmington, or as he put it to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday, he “grew up just across the border, south of Philadelphia,” before graduating from Penn in 1986.

In a TikTok video posted in September, Oz, standing in the kitchen of the New Jersey home, says he met his wife at a fancy dinner arranged by their fathers in Philadelphia, and later proposed on a city street corner using a discarded soda can tab as a makeshift ring.

He and Lisa married at City Hall and she had two of their children in the city. Lisa’s family, his campaign noted, has been in the area for more than 100 years.

“I came home a year ago,” Oz told Hannity. “It feels good to be back, I love the state and I’ll represent it honorably.”

» READ MORE: Dr. Oz officially joins the Senate race in Pennsylvania

What are the residency requirements for running for Senate?

They’re pretty open.

There are only three constitutional requirements for serving in the Senate: be at least 30 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least nine years, and “inhabit” the state you’ll represent at the time you’re elected.

That means Oz — or anyone else — could theoretically run a campaign from Alaska, and wait until just before Election Day to move to Pennsylvania and legally be eligible. (The politics of that is another matter).

There’s no precise definition of what makes someone an “inhabitant” and no minimum time period attached to that designation. The Constitution’s framers, in fact, explicitly debated a time requirement and rejected the idea, according to the Congressional Research Service, Congress’ nonpartisan research body.

“There is a general (legal) presumption within the American democratic tradition that the whole of the adult citizenry are eligible to serve in political office, and anyone challenging such presumption of eligibility has the burden of proof,” CRS wrote in a 2015 report.

Do we know how much Oz is committing to Pennsylvania?

His various Pennsylvania licenses and permits show steps to embed himself in his new home. He voted in Pennsylvania’s May primary and the November general election, both times by absentee ballot.

At the same time, Oz’s social media feed at the time of his November campaign launch showed he was still spending time at his North Jersey house. In more than 20 social media posts over three months, Oz is visible in the home delivering health advice, exercising in his subterranean basketball court, or simply spending time with his children and grandchildren. In a Facebook post from September, New York buildings are visible in the background as he swims in an infinity pool at one of the family’s Cliffside Park properties.

In many others, he’s clearly in the New Jersey home’s kitchen, which frequently doubles as a backdrop for Oz’s self-help videos on TikTok and Instagram. A late November Instagram post displayed Oz with his grandchildren in a room that matches the green walls, white trim, ornate fireplace, and arched entryways shown in the People story about the New Jersey home.

He also posted frequently from Pennsylvania, including from a farmers market in Bryn Athyn, 76ers and Eagles games (the latter in an old-school Randall Cunningham jersey), and places like Scranton, Valley Forge, and Pittsburgh during a weeklong tour of the state earlier in the summer. These images are also peppered in between shots of Oz’s other out-of-state excursions —— vacations to Turkey, Nantucket, and the family house in Palm Beach, Fla., just over the last six months.

How might all this affect Oz’s chances?

Of course, meeting the residency requirements and convincing voters that you are one of them are two different things. There have certainly been politicians with loose ties to a state or district who win elections anyway (think of Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate run), but it’s often wielded against them. And in this GOP primary, Oz has company. Carla Sands, Trump’s former ambassador to Denmark, is running for the Senate after spending much of her adult life in Southern California, and another candidate, David McCormick, moved to Pittsburgh from Connecticut. Both grew up in Pennsylvania before leaving as adults.

Oz’s critics were already jumping on his residency in late November.

“I want to congratulate my North Jersey constituent Dr. Oz on his run for US Senate in Pennsylvania,” U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat, tweeted sarcastically. “I’m sure this fully genuine candidacy will capture the hearts of Pennsylvanians.”

Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania Republican, U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, tweeted his support for McCormick, saying he would be “an America First/PA First Senator” and “FROM PENNSYLVANIA!!”