HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania’s top election official said Wednesday that the gap between the top two candidates in last week’s Republican US Senate primary was close enough to trigger a statewide recount, pushing the result back to June while the fight candidates in court.
The state’s acting secretary of state, Leigh Chapman, said the difference in votes for the top two finishers — famed heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick — fall within the scope of state law for a mandatory recount.
Oz, who is backed by former President Donald Trump, led McCormick by 902 votes, or 0.07 percentage point, out of 1,343,643 ballots reported by the state on Wednesday.
One question for McCormick’s campaign is whether there will be enough outstanding ballots to make up the difference with Oz.
The State Department estimated that counties still had about 10,000 provisional and mail-in votes to be counted, but did not know how many were cast by Republican voters.
There are another 860 Republican mail-in ballots without handwritten dates on their envelopes that are the subject of court cases, department officials said.
In a recount, most ballots are simply re-scanned electronically. Poll officials hand-check ballots to see if a scanner picked up no vote or dismissed it as a double vote and may find more voters there, election attorneys say.
The biggest change in the votes could come from the discovery of a data entry error, a human error — such as swapping numbers when counting county voting data — that could go either way, they say.
Under Pennsylvania’s recount law, the separation between candidates must be within the statutory margin of 0.5%. The Associated Press will not declare a race winner until the recount is complete. That could last until June 8th.
The winner will face Democratic Lt. gov. John Fetterman midterm elections in what Democrats see as their best opportunity to win a seat in the tightly divided Senate. The incumbent, Republican Senator Pat Toomey, is retiring after two terms.
The deadline for reporting the unofficial results to the state electoral office ended on Tuesday. Even so, counties continued to count thousands of ballots, including provisional, military and foreign mail-in ballots, as of Wednesday.
Chapman’s recount order is mandatory — unless the losing candidate requests it not be executed. McCormick had no plans to turn down a recount, saying in a statement that “we look forward to a quick resolution so our party can unite and defeat,” Fetterman said in the fall.
Counties will begin the recount next week and have until June 7 to complete it and another day to report the results to the state.
In those cases, McCormick hopes to get help to close the voice gap with Oz.
His campaign has asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Force counties to count those ballots immediately. A lower court has ordered a hearing into the matter for next Tuesday.
Oz, the Republican National Committee and the state Republican Party deny McCormick’s motion. A separate case involving the same ballots could go to the US Supreme Court.
Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/timelywriter.
For full coverage of the Midterms, follow AP at and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ap_politics.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.
https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/05/25/oz-mccormick-race-heads-toward-recount-in-pa-senate-primary/ Oz, McCormick-Rennen enters the Pennsylvania Senate primary