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Pennsylvania GOP Senate Race Too Close To Call
Mehmet Oz, celebrity physician and U.S. Republican Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, speaks during a campaign event at a restaurant in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Nate Smallwood/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Republican primary race for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat was too close to call as of early Wednesday morning.

Television host Dr. Mehmet Oz led former Treasury Department official David McCormick by just 2,672 votes with 94% of the ballots tallied, well within the half-a-percent margin that would trigger an automatic recount. Conservative commentator Kathy Barnette had earned slightly below 25%, making it a two-way race between Oz and McCormick for the right to face Democrat John Fetterman in the general election.

The results come despite polls in the days before the primary election that indicated a two-way contest between Oz, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, and Barnette, who surged late in the race.

The races is to fill the seat of Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who is retiring after two terms in the Senate. Democrats hope to flip the seat in the November general election.

Some races, however, were decisively concluded on Tuesday night.

In the Republican gubernatorial primary, voters selected State Sen. Doug Mastriano over former U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta. Mastriano will face current Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who ran uncontested in the Democratic primary, during the general election. Shapiro has thus far emphasized his centrist platform and funded ads boosting Mastriano in his primary race, in the hopes that his ties to Trump would harm him in November. Current Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA) is ineligible to run for a third consecutive term.

Meanwhile, Fetterman, the Keystone State’s lieutenant governor, defeated U.S. Congressman Conor Lamb and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta in the race for the commonwealth’s Democratic Senate nomination. The victory came despite Fetterman suffering a stroke over the weekend and successfully undergoing a procedure to receive a pacemaker on election day. 

President Biden lauded Fetterman for his victory, saying in a statement that the nominee “understands that working class families in Pennsylvania and across the country have been dealt out for far too long.” The statement also condemned any Republican that Fetterman faces in the fall as “too dangerous, too craven, and too extreme” to represent Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of State said in a statement that the results of many close elections will not be immediately available.

“We know voters want results on Primary Election Night, but the priority must be to make sure every vote is accurately and securely counted,” the statement read. “Ahead of the primary, more than 900,000 applications for mail-in and absentee ballots were requested. Pennsylvania election law does not permit pre-canvassing of ballots before Election Day — counties cannot begin counting mail ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day.”

“We expect to have unofficial results within a few days,” the statement continued. “Given the possibility of recounts and the need for official certifications, it is unlikely that final results in all races will be available tonight.”

National media has focused on Pennsylvania as a key “abortion battleground” ahead of the Supreme Court’s likely overturning of Roe v. Wade. Pennsylvania currently has a Republican-led legislature — meaning that policies surrounding abortion could be largely shaped by the outcome of the gubernatorial race.

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