May 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Pennsylvania Senate GOP race headed for statewide recount

Photo Mehmet Oz on the left and David McCormick on the right
Mehmet Oz (left) and David McCormick. Photos: Riccardo Savi for Concordia Summit and Nate Smallwood/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pennsylvania will hold a statewide recount for its Senate Republican primary, which remains too close to call, state election officials said Wednesday.

Why it matters: The race between Trump-backed celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick is one of the most closely watched contests in the country. Many view the election as a test of former President Trump's political power.

  • The outcome may not be known until June 8, when counties are required to report results to the state.

State of play: Mehmet Oz led David McCormick in the primary by a mere 902 votes out of more than 1.3 million ballots cast, as of Wednesday.

  • Oz’s margin of victory — .07% — falls within the state’s .5% margin that triggers a recount under state law.
  • McCormick has not waived his right to a recount.

What they're saying: Counties can begin the recount — which is anticipated to cost the state roughly $1 million — as soon as Friday, acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman said during a news conference on Wednesday.

  • “This automatic recount is intended to ensure the count is accurate and that there is confidence in the results and outcome,” Chapman said.

The big picture: The contest to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R) has become one of the most expensive U.S. Senate races in the nation.

The intrigue: Chapman, Pennsylvania’s top election official, called on counties to count undated and incorrectly dated mail-in ballots but segregate them, per state guidance issued on Tuesday.

  • Approximately 860 undated Republican ballots were reported from 65 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties as of Wednesday, Chapman said.

Between the lines: Thousands of ballots remain uncounted.

  • Approximately 6,000 mail-in and absentee ballots and 4,000 provisional ballots remain outstanding, Jonathan Marks, deputy secretary of election and commissions, said during the conference.

Yes, but: Uncertainty remains around whether mail-in ballots with dating issues will ultimately be included in the final count.

Zoom in: McCormick is fighting in state court for the state to follow a new federal appeals court ruling that ordered the counting of those ballots in a previous election.

  • The Republican National Committee and state GOP are siding with Oz and intervening in McCormick’s lawsuit.

What’s next: Counties must submit their recount results to the state by noon on June 8.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information from state election officials.

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