(NewsNation) — In one of the year’s most competitive U.S. Senate races, the barbs and memes shared on social media between Pennsylvania’s candidates are now turning personal.
Current Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz have gone back and forth on Twitter for months. The latest poke came Tuesday, when a member of Oz’s campaign suggested Fetterman wouldn’t have had a stroke if he had “ever eaten a vegetable in his life.”
Fetterman has accused Oz of being a carpetbagger who is disconnected from the state’s residents and culture. For decades, Oz lived in a multimillion-dollar home, which he still owns, overlooking the Hudson River in New Jersey, according to ABC News. In one online stunt, Fetterman rolled out an online petition to get Oz enshrined in New Jersey’s Hall of Fame.
But it was Oz’s viral grocery store visit — one that quickly became a punch line on social media — that may have turned the attacks between the two personal. In the video, Oz checks out the latest price on crudité — or, as Fetterman was quick to point out, a veggie tray.
“If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke and wouldn’t be in the position of having to lie about it constantly,” Rachel Tripp, Oz’s senior communications adviser, told Insider.
Fetterman acknowledged he was lucky to be alive when he officially returned to the campaign trail on Aug. 12, more than 90 days after the Democrat suffered a stroke that threatened his life and political prospects.
On Tuesday, Fetterman shot back on Twitter, of course.
“I had a stroke. I survived it. I’m truly so grateful to still be here today,” he wrote. “I know politics can be nasty, but even then, I could *never* imagine ridiculing someone for their health challenges.”
Fetterman’s campaign maintains its online trolling of Oz is on point with issues that matter to voters.
The Pennsylvania contest offers Democrats arguably their best pickup opportunity following the retirement of Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
With the Senate chamber split 50-50, and Vice President Kamala Harris giving Democrats the narrowest of majorities with her tie-breaking vote, all eyes are on Pennsylvania.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.