Oz, McCormick race heads toward recount in Pa Senate primary

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Election 2022 Pennsylvania Sentate (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Election 2022 Pennsylvania Sentate (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Pennsylvania's top election official was expected to certify Wednesday that the margin between the top two candidates in last week's Republican primary for U.S. Senate was tight enough to trigger a recount.

The state’s acting secretary of state, Leigh Chapman, had a news conference planned for Wednesday afternoon.

Celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, led former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 912 votes, or 0.06 percentage points, out of 1,342,580 ballots reported by the state as of Wednesday.

The race is close enough to trigger Pennsylvania’s automatic recount law, with the separation between the candidates inside the law’s 0.5% margin. The Associated Press will not declare a winner in the race until the recount is complete. That could take until June 8.

The winner will face Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in November’s midterm elections in what Democrats see as their best opportunity to pick up a seat in the closely divided Senate. The incumbent, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, is retiring after serving two terms.

The deadline for counties to report their unofficial results to the state elections office was 5 p.m. Tuesday. Even so, counties continued counting hundreds of ballots, including provisional, military and overseas absentee ballots.

McCormick's campaign has filed a lawsuit with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to compel counties to promptly count mail-in ballots that lack a required handwritten date on the return envelope.

Oz, the Republican National Committee and the state Republican Party oppose McCormick’s request.

There are hundreds — if not thousands — of such ballots sitting in county offices across the state.

A separate case that affects the ballot counting could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chapman has until Thursday to issue a recount order, which is mandatory — unless the losing candidate requests that it not be carried out. McCormick’s campaign said it has no plans to decline a recount.

Counties will begin the recount next week and have until June 7 to finish and another day to report results to the state.

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Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/timelywriter.

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Follow AP for full coverage of the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ap_politics.