As the Republican primary for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat heads for a recount, the Republican National Convention (RNC) is siding with Dr. Mehmet Oz over his opponent, David McCormick, the party’s legal counsel revealed earlier this week.
Oz, a television host and surgeon, currently leads McCormick, a former Bush official and hedge fund executive, by less than 1,000 votes. Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh Chapman announced her intentions to order a recount in accordance with state law, which mandates recounts when candidates finish within 0.5% of one another.
McCormick sued in Pennsylvania court on Monday to make county election boards tally undated mail-in ballots — a move that RNC chief counsel Matt Raymer denounced over election integrity concerns.
“The RNC is intervening in this lawsuit alongside the Pennsylvania GOP because election laws are meant to be followed, and changing the rules when ballots are already being counted harms the integrity of our elections,” Raymer said in a statement to Insider. “Either of Pennsylvania’s leading Republican Senate candidates would represent the Keystone State better than a Democrat, but Pennsylvania law is clear that undated absentee ballots may not be counted.”
McCormick’s lawsuit alleges that Pennsylvania’s county election boards are “disenfranchising” voters. The case — which follows a Friday federal court decision declaring that undated ballots in a 2021 Pennsylvania county judgeship election must be counted — therefore demands that the election boards count ballots “that were returned on time but that lack a handwritten date on the exterior mailing envelope.”
Meanwhile, the Oz campaign argued that McCormick is “following the Democrats’ playbook” and eroding voters’ confidence in election integrity. “It is a clear contrast between Dr. Mehmet Oz’s efforts to secure America’s democratic process and John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee, who doesn’t even want to require Pennsylvanians to show ID to vote,” Oz campaign manager Casey Contres said.
Oz currently has 419,365 votes, while McCormick has 418,463. Conservative commentator Kathy Barnette — whose campaign surged in the race’s final days — earned 331,398 votes.
Last week, former President Donald Trump urged Oz — his endorsed candidate — to claim the win. “Dr. Oz should declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happened to find,’” Trump claimed on Truth Social, his social media company.
In any case, Republicans in Pennsylvania will not identify their nominee for at least another two weeks.
“Counties may begin their recount as early as Friday but must begin no later than June 1,” the Pennsylvania government said. “They must complete the recount by noon on June 7, and they must submit the recount results to the Department of State by noon on June 8.”
Oz or McCormick will face Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the winner of the Democratic Senate primary, in November. Fetterman — the longtime mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, before becoming lieutenant governor in 2019 — carried every county and more than doubled U.S. Congressman Conor Lamb’s share of the Democratic electorate.
The victor will then succeed Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who is retiring after two terms in the Senate. Democrats, therefore, have a chance to flip the seat in the general election.