Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images Dr. Oz
Dr. Mehmet Oz officially announced that he is running for Senate Tuesday, penning an op-ed for The Washington Examiner in which he wrote that he is launching his campaign "to help fix the problems and to help us heal."
Writing that the coronavirus pandemic had ultimately led him to enter the Pennsylvania Senate race, Oz said many of the more-than 750,000 American COVID-19 deaths were "preventable."
"Dissenting opinions from leading scholars were ridiculed and canceled so their ideas could not be disseminated," Oz wrote. "Instead, the government mandated policies that caused unnecessary suffering. The public was patronized and misled instead of empowered. We were told to lock down quietly and let those in charge take care of the rest."
He will enter the race as a Republican.
Outlets including the Associated Press and The Washington Post reported earlier that the celebrity heart surgeon may make an announcement regarding his campaign on Fox News host Sean Hannity's show Tuesday night.
A preview for the show noted that Oz, 61, would appear on Tuesday's episode show and teased "a huge announcement."
Citing anonymous sources, the AP reported that Oz has in recent days told associates and Republicans in Pennsylvania of his planned campaign.
The choice to launch a political campaign in Pennsylvania will likely raise questions. Oz, who lives in and films his show in New Jersey, began voting in Pennsylvania's elections via absentee ballot earlier this year. His Pennsylvania registration is tied to an address owned by his in-laws, the AP reports.
Amid recent speculation that the cardiothoracic surgeon and television personality was planning to launch a run for office, a spokesperson for The Dr. Oz Show earlier told PEOPLE: "Since last year, Dr. Oz has lived and voted in Pennsylvania where he attended school and has deep family ties."
Though the spokesperson added Oz remained focused on his show and was not ready to make an announcement about a campaign, they added that he had "received encouragement to run."
"Dr. Oz has received encouragement to run for the U.S. Senate, but is currently focused on our show and has no announcement at this time," the spokesperson added.
It is unclear what impact a potential Senate run will have on the Dr. Oz Show, which was renewed for a 13th and 14th season last year.
Oz and his crew returned to the studio in September 2020 to film season 12 of The Dr. Oz Show, and filmed several months of the show last year from home, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pennsylvania Senate seat in question is currently held by Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who won't be running for re-election after serving in the Senate since 2011.
The leading Republican candidate seeking to fill Toomey's seat — Trump-endorsed Army veteran Sean Parnell — suspended his campaign last week after losing a custody battle amid allegations of abuse by his estranged wife.
Democratic candidates running for the seat include Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor, John Fetterman.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
Oz is originally from Cleveland. In 1986, he went to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania — where he also earned an MBA. He has been a professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia University since 2001.