The Republican primary for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat is headed for a recount, the commonwealth’s government announced Wednesday.
As television host Dr. Mehmet Oz leads former Bush official David McCormick 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. The recount marks the seventh since Pennsylvania enacted its mandatory recount law in 2004.
Oz currently has 419,365 votes, while McCormick has 418,463. Conservative commentator Kathy Barnette — whose campaign surged in the final days of the race — earned 331,398 votes.
It appears, however, that Pennsylvania Republicans 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.”
Earlier this week, McCormick sued in Pennsylvania court to make county election boards tally undated mail-in ballots.
“These ballots were indisputably submitted on time — they were date-stamped upon receipt — and no fraud or irregularity has been alleged,” McCormick’s lawsuit argued. “The Boards’ only basis for disenfranchising these voters is a technical error that is immaterial under both state and federal law.”
The lawsuit — 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.”
McCormick’s suit comes days after the Oz campaign alleged that his rival is “following the Democrats’ playbook” and eroding voters’ confidence in election integrity.
“David McCormick has been a formidable opponent, but it is becoming obvious that he is likely going to come up short to Dr. Mehmet Oz,” campaign manager Casey Contres said on 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.”
“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,” Contres argued. “As a party, and as a people, Dr. Mehmet Oz believes we must restore faith in our government institutions.”
Last week, former President Donald Trump prompted 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.
Oz or McCormick will face Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the winner of the Democratic Senate primary, in November. 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.
Fetterman defeated U.S. Congressman Conor Lamb despite suffering a stroke in the week before the election and successfully undergoing a procedure to receive a pacemaker on election day. Fetterman — who was the longtime mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, before becoming lieutenant governor in 2019 — carried every county and more than doubled Lamb’s share of the Democratic electorate.