Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary headed to a recount

Pennsylvania is hotly contested Republican Senate primary goes for a recount after unofficial results are shown Mehmed Ozthe television personality became a political candidate endorsed by former President Trump, just ahead of the former hedge fund manager David McCormick.

Unofficial results showed Oz was 902 votes ahead of McCormick, Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman told reporters on Wednesday. Pennsylvania state law states that statewide races are recounted when the gap between the top contenders is 0.5% or less.

Chapman said McCormick had not waived his right to a recount by noon Wednesday, so she will make a formal statement for a recount at 5 p.m. Thursday. Districts can begin the recount on Friday but must begin the process by June 1.

State officials said Wednesday about 6,000 absentee ballots, including military and foreign votes, and about 4,000 provisional ballots were still being collected and decided. Officials Wednesday gave no breakdown of how many ballots were cast from that group in the Republican primary.

Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidates David McCormick, left, and Mehmet Oz during campaign appearances in Pennsylvania in May 2022.  / Photo credit: AP

Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidates David McCormick, left, and Mehmet Oz during campaign appearances in Pennsylvania in May 2022. / Photo credit: AP

“We’re proud that our campaign received nearly 418,000 votes, won 37 out of 67 counties, and contributed to a historic turnout with a razor-thin margin between me and Mehmet Oz,” McCormick said in a Statement Tuesday evening. “The narrow difference triggers an automatic recount and we look forward to a quick resolution so our party can unite to defeat Socialist John Fetterman in the fall.”

If the unofficial results stand and Oz is ultimately declared the winner, it will be a victory for Trump, who supported and fought with Oz in the race. When the results are official, the winner will face Lt. gov. Pennsylvania’s John Fetterman, who won the Democratic nomination last week.

Counties are scheduled to complete the census by June 7 and submit the results by June 8. This is the seventh time the automatic recount determination, introduced in 2004, has been triggered. In three cases, candidates have waived their right to a recount, but when there have been recounts, the results of the election have not changed, Chapman said.

On Monday, McCormick’s campaign filed a lawsuit in a Pennsylvania court, demanding that counties must count mail-in ballots that don’t have a date on the return envelope.

“These ballots were undeniably submitted in a timely manner – they were date-stamped upon receipt – and no fraud or irregularity was alleged. The boards’ sole basis for disenfranchising these voters is a technical error immaterial under both state and federal law,” McCormick’s lawsuit says.

The lawsuit comes after a federal appeals court ruled in a separate case on Friday that those dates are “immaterial” under the law and those ballots should be counted. This case dates back to a local election in 2021. A state court previously said the undated ballots in this race could not be counted.

The Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s office told counties to count ballots that were missing the dates on the return envelopes but keep them separate from the rest of the results. The state said it has not yet decided whether to include those ballots in the final tabulated results.

The Republican National Committee and the Pennsylvania GOP are intervening to keep the ballots from being counted. In 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that undated absentee ballots could be counted, but a judge who held the majority said they shouldn’t count for elections after 2020.

“Any of Pennsylvania’s leading Republican Senate nominees would represent Keystone State better than a Democrat, but Pennsylvania law is clear that undated absentee ballots are not to be counted,” RNC chief adviser Matt Raymer said in a statement.

The two candidates spent millions of dollars attacking each other on the campaign trail and in TV ads. According to AdImpact, $78 million was spent on advertising for all candidates, making it the second-most expensive primary of 2022 to date. McCormick, Oz and their best allied groups spent about $55 million combined.

Oz and McCormick entered the race after Sean Parnell, the candidate who initially endorsed Trump, dropped out of the race after losing a custody battle.

Conservative commentator Kathy Barnette made a late climb in the race but ultimately finished third.

If Oz maintains his lead after the recount, it will be a second major win for Trump in Pennsylvania. In the Republican gubernatorial primary, Trump-backed Senator Doug Mastriano easily won the GOP nomination.

In a speech Tuesday night, Oz thanked Trump for his help. “God bless you sir for putting so much effort into this race,” Oz told fans.

Trump has had mixed results in other key primaries, with the former president-backed candidates suffering several high-profile losses in Georgia on Tuesday night. Former Senator David Perdue failed in his attempt to defeat incumbent Governor Brian Kemp, and Rep. Jody Hice lost to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Still, Trump has picked up victories in other high-profile Senate races, including Herschel Walker in Georgia on Tuesday night. In Ohio, Trump-backed JD Vance won his primary and in North Carolina, Ted Budd will be the Republican nominee.

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