In tight GOP Senate race in PA, count will resume Friday as Oz holds slight lead over McCormick

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A winner in the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania will have to wait another day as the vote count continues to trickle in days after the May 17 primary, keeping the results so far to razor-thin margins.

A senior official in Republican Dave McCormick's campaign told reporters Thursday afternoon they remain confident of a victory over Mehmet Oz, but that several counties will resume counting Friday morning.

McCormick trails Oz by a margin of just 1,245 votes, a gap the campaign official said they expect to close as more in-person, mail-in and absentee ballots are counted in over 60 precincts across the state.

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Dave McCormick greets supporters as he arrives for his returns watch party in the Pennsylvania primary election, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Pittsburgh.
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Dave McCormick greets supporters as he arrives for his returns watch party in the Pennsylvania primary election, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Pittsburgh.

As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oz had about 31.23% of the GOP ballots, or 417,446 votes, to McCormick's 31.14%, or 416,201 ballots.

As of about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, a Department of State spokesman confirmed an estimated 38,000 absentee and mail-in ballots remain to be counted. About 29,000 Democratic ballots and 8,700 Republican ballots are among the remaining ballots.

Under the Pennsylvania Election Code, counties have until 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, to report unofficial results to state wide offices.

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The campaign official added that a number of "election day" ballots also remained uncounted Thursday in Philadelphia, Delaware and Allegheny counties, all of which had stopped their count for the day and would resume Friday, according to the McCormick's campaign.

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Allegheny County technical issue

Allegheny County's Elections Division reported in multiple updates on Wednesday that a delay in reporting in-person results at 30 voting precincts was due to a technical issue involving the memory sticks used in precinct scanners.

Mehmet Oz, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, right, waves in front of his wife, Lisa, while speaking at a primary night election gathering in Newtown, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) ORG XMIT: PASW105
Mehmet Oz, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, right, waves in front of his wife, Lisa, while speaking at a primary night election gathering in Newtown, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) ORG XMIT: PASW105

Each precinct scanner used at Allegheny County polling places has two "memory sticks" containing the same data, one used for unofficial results uploaded on Election Night and the second for official results.

There were 31 precincts that had outstanding ballot results after the polls closed on Tuesday, and as of 11:30 a.m. Wednesday the county reported that 30 precincts had accidentally locked both memory sticks into their scanners.

By 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Allegheny County reported that the official results sticks for 21 of those precincts were with the division and that the memory sticks in two precincts were removed early and that "the division will need to close the machines and save the data again before those results can be imported."

The remaining eight precincts were still being delivered to the elections division warehouse at the time of the update, and notifications would go out to poll watchers for the time and place that the scanners would be unsealed.

The county estimated that no election results would change on the county's website until after 9 Friday morning.

Allegheny Director of Communications Amie M. Downs said another update was expected to come Thursday afternoon. As of 4:20 p.m., there was no update.

While there were no concrete estimates of how many ballots remained to be counted among the 30 affected precincts, the county's website notes there are about 18,895 registered voters who had not requested a mail-in or absentee ballot and that the turnout in the county was about 36.42%. That would put the very rough estimate at approximately 6,882 votes uncounted.

McCormick currently leads in Allegheny County, where he currently lives, with 35,762 votes to Oz's 29,063 votes.

In Philadelphia

Philadelphia's election results website reported 1,608 of 1,703 districts reporting in as of Thursday afternoon.

In Philadelphia, Oz has taken an estimated 37.95% of the 27,463 Republican ballots cast to McCormick's 24.92%, a lead of nearly 4,000 votes.

Only about 118,057 of Philadelphia's more than 1 million registered voters are Republicans, making the GOP turnout for the Senate primary in the heavily blue city about 23%.

Philadelphia officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the progress of its count Thursday afternoon.

Delaware County also did not immediately respond to this news organization's request for comment Thursday, but the county's election results website currently lists 100% of precincts reporting in.

McCormick leads in there with 17,973 votes to Oz's 16,438 votes.

Teresa Boeckel of the York Daily Record contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Count in PA GOP Senate race resumes Friday, McCormick optimistic behind Oz