Pennsylvania GOP Senate Race Too Close to Call, Recount Expected

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For weeks, polls showed that the Pennsylvania GOP U.S. Senate primary was too close to call. Results from primary election day demonstrate that projection was accurate.

Though he slipped to third in some recent polls and saw former President Donald Trump endorse celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in April, hedge fund investor and  U.S. Treasury Dept. official David McCormick carried a slim lead for most of the night in the primary on May 17.

In the early hours of May 18, Oz pulled ahead.

With 95 percent of the precincts reporting at 12:30 a.m., Oz received 31.2 percent of the vote (397,347) while McCormick tallied 31.1 percent (396,724) and Barnette accumulated 24.7 percent (314,828), according to Decision Desk HQ.

In Pennsylvania, an automatic recount is triggered when the difference between the leading candidates is within .5 percent. An official winner might not be known for days.

At 11:30 p.m., McCormick took the stage at his watch party in Pittsburgh as results showed he was clinging to a .2 percent lead.

“We had a pretty good day today,” McCormick said, drawing applause from the crowd. “There was a huge outpouring of support across the state. We knew it. We felt it on the ground.

“We are going to win this campaign,” he added. “Right now, tens of thousands of mail-in ballots have not been counted and will need to be counted tomorrow. There will be no resolution tonight, but we can see victory ahead.”

Some Pennsylvania counties do not begin counting mail-in ballots until the day after the election. McCormick’s team believes it has the advantage on early votes and feels confident that it will maintain the lead and win the race.

Oz did not concede when he addressed a crowd of supporters in Newtown at 11:50 p.m.

He thanked Trump and Sean Hannity, saying he’s “like a brother to me.”

He also talked about the hope that a strong America brings to other countries.

“My parents were immigrants and saw that shining city on the hill that President Reagan talked about,” Oz said. “I  am running to allow all of us to see that brilliance. We are the land of plenty and nothing can hold us back.

“We are a role model to the world. When our city on the hill is shining bright, others see it,” Oz added.

Oz wrapped up his talk by claiming there will be a “ferocious charge” and “I will be the next senator of Pennsylvania.”

The GOP winner will face Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the general election. Fetterman, who suffered a stroke on May 13 and underwent a procedure to get a pacemaker and defibrillator on the afternoon of May 17, gained 59 percent of the vote followed by U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb with 27.5 percent and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta at 9.2 with 71 percent of the precincts reporting at 10:26 p.m.

In mid-April, Trump endorsed Oz and Ohio GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance. Oz didn’t get the bump in the polls that propelled Vance to a primary victory.

Oz led in about every poll in recent weeks, but he held a tiny advantage.

By Jeff Louderback

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