Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s Senate campaign said it reaped a $500,000 fundraising windfall in just 24 hours after a much-mocked video of his opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, went viral.
The spike in donations between Monday and Tuesday afternoon was “well above” the campaign’s average rate, Fetterman’s communications director, Joe Calvello, told CNBC on Wednesday.
The campaign raked in $11 million in the previous fundraising quarter, Calvello noted. “$500,000 in one day, it’s a nice bump,” he said.
The surge in contributions came after a video suddenly recirculated online showing Oz walking in a grocery store, complaining about the prices of ingredients needed to make a “crudites” platter, which is more commonly known as a vegetable platter.
The 38-second video, which was posted to Oz’s social media in April, opens with the candidate declaring, “I thought I’d do some grocery shopping.”
“I’m at Wegner’s,” Oz says, apparently combining the names of two separate grocery chains, Wegmans and Redner’s.
“My wife wants some vegetables for a crudites, right?” Oz says as he makes his way through the store’s produce section, picking up packages of vegetables, guacamole and salsa, and reading their prices.
“Guys, that’s $20 for a crudites and that doesn’t include the tequila. I mean, that’s outrageous. And we got Joe Biden to thank for this,” Oz says.
Fetterman’s campaign seized on the video, holding it up as further evidence that the Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor was out of touch with average Pennsylvanians.
“Oz clearly has never been in a grocery store before. That’s why this is resonating with supporters across Pennsylvania,” Fetterman’s campaign manager, Brendan McPhillips, said in a press release Tuesday night.
The campaign said that more than $65,000 of the half-million haul was raised through sales of a sticker with the phrase, “Wegners: Let them eat Crudite” that was offered to donors.
Fetterman’s social media accounts this week have relentlessly mocked Oz for his use of the high-brow term crudites, a French word that’s pronounced kroo-de-tay. “If this looks [like] anything other than a veggie tray to you, then I am not your candidate,” said Fetterman, holding up a plastic container of vegetables, in a video he tweeted out Tuesday.
Oz’s campaign casts Fetterman as a far-left Democrat whose politics are too radical for Pennsylvania, a major battleground state. Last week, Oz challenged Fetterman to five Senate debates, a move that could put a spotlight on Fetterman’s monthslong absence from the campaign trail as he recovered from a stroke.
Despite his time off the campaign trail, polls show Fetterman holds a significant lead over Oz with less than three months before the November general election.
Republicans are hoping to regain majority control of the House and Senate in the midterms. Democrats hold the slimmest majority in the Senate, which is split 50-50 by party, giving Vice President Kamala Harris the tiebreaking vote.
They are also competing in an election cycle that is historically tough for the incumbent president’s party. But recent political models suggest that Democrats are now slightly favored to keep control of the upper chamber.