As the dust settles after Tuesday’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, candidates Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick remain locked in a close battle that was still too close to call Wednesday. The remaining mail-in ballots continue to be counted, and the race appears likely to trigger an automatic recount based on Pennsylvania election law.
By late Wednesday afternoon, Oz was ahead of McCormick by 0.2% — a margin of less than 2,000 votes, according to The Associated Press, which reported 96.7% of the votes had been counted as of 5 p.m. The initial count could continue for several days before it is completed. An automatic recount is required if the top two voters finish within 0.5% in a race for statewide office in Pennsylvania.
- Pennsylvania Republican primary for U.S. Senate
- Mehmet Oz: 414,853 votes (31.3%)
- Dave McCormick: 413,169 votes (31.1%)
- Catherine Barnette: 328,213 votes (24.7%)
- Carla Sands: 71,940 votes (5.4%)
- Jeffrey Bartos: 65,237 votes (4.9%)
- Sean Gale: 19,887 votes (1.5%)
- George Bochetto: 13,951 votes (1.1%)
- 96.7% of constituencies report
But first, all the ballots must be counted.
The bulk of Pennsylvania’s uncounted mail-in ballots in Tuesday’s Republican primary come from Allegheny and Lancaster counties, WGAL reported.
In Allegheny County, considered a stronghold for McCormick, 33 out of 1,323 precincts had still not reported results as of Wednesday.
“There will be no further updates until the Council meeting back on Friday, May 20 at 9 a.m.,” reads a note posted on the website used by the Allegheny County Board of Elections to post election results.
And in Lancaster County, officials said a printing error caused delays in counting about 22,000 mail-in ballots. These ballots should be set aside, annotated and scanned. This process was to begin on Wednesday.
With all the signs currently pointing to a recount to determine a winner, it may take until the second week of June to determine who will be the Republican nominee for the US Senate in what will be one of the nation’s most watched races in november.
Pennsylvania’s secretary of state must order a recount no later than the second Thursday after the election — in this case, by 5 p.m. on May 26. Candidates must be notified of the recount 24 hours in advance. If the margin separating Oz and McCormick remains 0.5% or less, the only way a recount won’t happen is if the second-place contender declines it.
From there, a recount must take place by June 1, the third Wednesday after the election. The recount is expected to be completed by noon the following Tuesday, June 7. All counties would then have until noon on Wednesday, June 8 to submit results which will be released by the Secretary of State.
Oz, a retired surgeon and TV personality, made a late push to pass McCormick on Wednesday morning. Former President Donald Trump, who backed Oz in the race, claimed on Wednesday that Oz had won. Oz and McCormick, the hedge fund’s former CEO, acknowledged hours after polls closed on Tuesday that a resolution was not imminent.
On Trump’s social media site, Truth Social, the former president referenced the impact on the primary of conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, who had tallied about 24.7% of the vote Wednesday afternoon, placing her in third place.
“The Club for Growth candidate (Kathy Barnette), who lost, took many votes away from Oz,” Trump said. “Also, the first mail-in ballots were sent without my approval yet. Despite all of this, Oz won!”
Trump also disparaged Pennsylvania, a state that became a fixation for him during his bogus claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
“Here we go again! In Pennsylvania, they can’t count mail-in ballots,” Trump said. “That’s a BIG MESSAGE. Our country should switch to paper ballots, with same-day voting. I just did it in France, no problem. Get Smart America!”
Later Wednesday, Trump said Oz should declare victory before any recount, even though the initial vote tally has not yet been completed, according to the New York Post. reported.
“It’s much harder for them to cheat with ballots they ‘just found,'” Trump said.
On Tuesday night, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate race in November.
The battle for the seat vacated by Sen. Pat Toomey could have major ramifications for the balance of power in the Senate.
The open seat in Pennsylvania is one of seven in 2022 left vacant by incumbents – including six Republicans – who have decided not to seek re-election this year. The partisan balance in the US Senate is effectively dead – 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats, plus two independent senators who caucus with Democrats and a deciding vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.
A total of 35 US Senate seats are up for grabs in November. Among them, 15 seats are held by Republicans and 13 are held by Democrats seeking re-election, in addition to open race seats.