- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick and celebrity physician Mehmet Oz were nearly tied in Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate primary Tuesday night, and the race appeared headed for a recount.

Mr. McCormick appeared to supporters at his campaign headquarters near midnight and told them he expected to win, but not tonight.

“We’re gonna win this campaign,” he told the cheering crowd before telling them that there were still “tens of thousands” of early votes still to be counted, starting Wednesday.

”Unfortunately, we’re not gonna have a resolution tonight, but we see a path ahead,” he said.

Mr. Oz also appeared before supporters shortly before midnight and neither conceded nor claimed victory.

Just before midnight, with 97% of the vote counted, Mr. McCormick had 31.2% of the vote, compared to 31.1% for Mr. Oz and 24.7 for conservative commentator Kathy Barnette.

Mr. McCormick’s raw-vote margin was less than 1,500 votes.

If the final results remain within a half-percentage point, as seems likely, the state then will conduct a recount of all ballots.

In addition to tallying Election Day votes, the state must also count mail-in and absentee ballots and began doing so at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

According to state election officials, more than 805,000 Pennsylvania voters requested a mail-in ballot, and more than 103,000 requested an absentee ballot.

Mr. McCormick, who ran as a rock-ribbed Republican and strong supporter of former President Trump, was outperforming Mr. Oz in the rural areas of the state and Pittsburgh.

Mr. Oz, who had the former president’s coveted endorsement, was dominating the Philadelphia suburbs and the states southernmost counties.

The celebrity host of “The Dr. Oz Show” is one of the former president’s highest-profile endorsements. Mr. Trump announced his support for Mr. Oz on April 10, providing a much-needed jolt to the former heart surgeon’s campaign.

But polls showed Mr. Oz and Mr. McCormick nearly tied ahead of Election Day and they remained so in the actual vote. Ms. Barnett surged late in the polls to a three-way tie with Mr. McCormick and Mr. Oz, but fell well into third place on Tuesday.

The winner will face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, 52, who defeated Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta in the Democratic primary, on the November ballot.

Mr. Fetterman voted from a hospital bed after suffering a stroke last week. Doctors removed a blood clot and told him he will make a full recovery, he said.

The Pennsylvania Senate race is expected to be among the marquee matchups in the 2022 midterm elections this fall. The winner will help determine the Senate majority and will fill a seat vacated by Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, a Republican who did not run for reelection.

If Mr. Oz loses, it would be the second big loss for Mr. Trump since he began making dozens of endorsements in GOP primaries ahead of the 2022 election.

The former president’s winning streak ended on May 10, when agribusiness executive Charles Herbster, his pick for Nebraska governor, lost in the primary.

Earlier in the month, Mr. Trump’s nod provided a big boost to J.D. Vance, pushing him from the single digits to a victory over a pack of opponents to win the GOP Senate primary in Ohio. Some Republicans blasted Mr. Trump’s decision to endorse Mr. Vance, who is on record denouncing Mr. Trump several years ago.

Critics said Mr. Trump’s decision to endorse Mr. Oz was equally flawed.

The former heart surgeon was accused of not living in Pennsylvania and was criticized by conservatives for past statements supporting gun control and abortion.

The former president said he picked Mr. Oz because he has known him for many years and was likable and well-known.  

He has lived with us through the screen and has always been popular, respected, and smart,” Mr. Trump said.

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.

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