Recount Ordered in Pa. GOP Senate Primary with Less Than 1,000 Votes Separating Dr. Oz and David McCormick

Democrats are excited about the potential for a “never-ending intra-party fight” among Republicans as a legal battle over mail-in ballots is already underway

Dr. Oz, David McCormick
David McCormick (left), Dr. Oz. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty; Rachel Wisniewski/Bloomberg via Getty

A recount has been ordered in the tight race between Dr. Oz and hedge fund manager David McCormick in Pennsylvania's Republican primary.

Acting Sec. of State Leigh Chapman announced Wednesday that vote totals for the two candidates are "within the one-half of one percent margin that triggers a mandatory recount under state law."

Dr. Oz, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, currently leads McCormick by 916 votes of more than 1.3 million votes cast, a difference of less than .1 percent.

Pennsylvania counties have until June 7 to recount the ballots and inform Chapman of the results by June 8.

"We are proud that our campaign received nearly 418,000 votes, won 37 of 67 counties, and contributed to a historic turnout with a razor-thin difference between myself and Mehmet Oz" McCormick said in a statement, adding that his campaign looks forward to a "swift resolution" with the recount.

The winner will face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who won the Democratic primary last week after suffering a stroke, in November in what is expected to be a consequential election and could determine which party controls the Senate.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson David Bergstein predicted the GOP nominee will be hindered by a "never-ending intra-party fight," The Washington Post reports.

"The recount will ensure Republicans remain divided, disorganized and in chaos — and that whichever GOP candidate ultimately emerges will limp into the general election at an even greater disadvantage," he said in a statement.

McCormick filed a lawsuit last week in an effort to ensure mail-in ballots without handwritten dates are still counted, The New York Times reported.

Pennsylvania law dictates that absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on the day of the election. They must also be placed in a sealed envelope marked "official election ballot" and then that envelope is required to be placed in a second sealed envelope, which voters must "fill out, date and sign."

On Friday, a three-judge panel for the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that election officials must count hundreds of mail-in ballots submitted on time but without a date written on the mailing envelopes, Politico reported.

Though the decision applies to a Nov. 2021 election for a county judgeship, it is the basis of McCormick's lawsuit, according to The Washington Post, which also reports that the number of mail-in ballots for the recent Republican primary that lack dates is unknown.

McCormick has an edge over Oz in mail-in voting, according to election data.

Oz's campaign manager, Casey Contres, responded to McCormick's lawsuit in a statement released Saturday.

"Unfortunately, the McCormick legal team is following the Democrats' playbook, a tactic that could have long-term harmful consequences for elections in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Contres said.

"Dr. Mehmet Oz continues to respectfully allow Pennsylvania's vote-counting process to take place and puts his faith in the Republican voters who we believe have chosen him as their nominee," Oz's campaign manager continued. "That is why our campaign will oppose the McCormick legal team's request that election boards ignore both Pennsylvania's Supreme Court and state election law and accept legally rejected ballots."

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