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Recount ordered in Pennsylvania Senate race between Oz, McCormick

The results of the recount in the GOP primary contest between the celebrity doctor and former finance manager could be impacted by a court motion seeking to admit undated mail-in ballots into the final election tallies.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CN) — Pennsylvania’s top election official announced Wednesday that the Republican U.S. Senate primary race between celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz and former financial manager David McCormick — who tails Oz by a mere 902 votes — is so close a recount has been triggered.

As of Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Department of State had tallied election results submitted by all 67 of Pennsylvania counties. In first place, Oz had received 419,365 votes while McCormick had 418,463 votes, or 31.21% and 31.14% of the vote, respectively.

Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh Chapman issued notice Wednesday that she is ordering the statutorily required recount, triggered by Pennsylvania law when first and second place finishers have vote totals within 0.5% of each other. A winner will not be declared until the recount is complete.

“Counties may begin their recount as early as Friday but must begin no later than June 1. 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,” the Department of State said in a press release Wednesday, noting that the recount is estimated to cost taxpayers around $1 million.

On Tuesday, McCormick’s campaign filed a lawsuit with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court asking it to order counties to count all mail-in ballots without handwritten dates on their return envelopes, which, if granted, could add hundreds or thousands of extra votes into the mix.

McCormick’s motion has been opposed by Oz’s campaign, alongside the Republican National Committee and the Pennsylvania Republican Party.

Both candidates are from out of state and came to Pennsylvania for its open-seat Senate race.

Formerly a New Jersey resident, Oz gave up his popular daytime talk show to run for Senate while McCormick came into the race from a career as a Connecticut-based hedge fund leader.

Oz loaned himself more than $12 million for the race and collected another $3 million from donors, while McCormick raised around $16 million, a total that includes an $11 million loan from himself.

The winner of the race will face Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman in November. Fetterman was easily declared the winner of the Democratic primary Tuesday night and was quickly endorsed by President Joe Biden for the general election.

However, the Democratic nominee’s campaign had hit a speed bump the weekend before election day when the former Bradford mayor landed in the hospital after a stroke. He had a pacemaker put in the following Tuesday, the same day voters pushed him to victory in the primary, and has said he is on his way to a full recovery.

Pennsylvania will also see an open governor’s race in November.

On the Republican side of the gubernatorial contest, Trump-endorsed candidate Doug Mastriano was declared the winner of the primary last week.

Mastriano is a Trump supporter who was in the crowd outside the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. Echoing Trump’s positions, he’s amplified conspiracies about the 2020 presidential election and opposed pandemic-related shutdowns, vaccines, masks and other precautions. 

He will run against Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, in November.

Shapiro is endorsed by the Keystone State’s current Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, who will reach the end of his maximum two terms in office this year. 

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