Nail-Biter in Pennsylvania: Oz’s Razor-Thin Lead Could Fall to McCormick; Mail Votes Yet to Be Counted
Dr. Mehmet Oz and businessman David McCormick are within 0.3 percent of each other in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania heading into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Oz has a 2,672-vote edge over McCormick with 95 percent of votes reported as of about 2 a.m., according to a New York Times tabulation.
McCormick had held a slight lead throughout much of the night, but Oz was expected to pull ahead, potentially only temporarily, toward the end of the vote counting, as Breitbart News detailed in its live coverage of election night.
Oz’s lead, however, may not withstand the thousands of mail-in ballots that have yet to be counted considering McCormick has performed better with mail-in ballots counted thus far.
Ryan Matsumoto with Inside Elections noted there could be about 30,000 outstanding mail-in ballots and that McCormick has so far led Oz by about nine percent in mail-in ballots. If the outstanding ballots end up being consistent or close to consistent with those already counted, the lead in the primary could easily flip back to McCormick.
I think there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding the composition of the ~29k remaining mail ballots left to be counted in Pennsylvania.
First, timing – do late mail ballots differ from early mail ballots?
Second, geography – where are these mail ballots coming from?#PASEN
— Ryan Matsumoto (@ryanmatsumoto1) May 18, 2022
McCormick consultant Jeff Roe, founder of the prolific GOP consulting firm Axiom Strategies, expressed certainty that McCormick would emerge as the winner of the primary in a statement early Wednesday morning.
“Based on how many uncounted absentee ballots there are and the margin by which Dave has won them so far, that’s why we are confident of victory. Dave will win this race,” Roe wrote.
Based on how many uncounted absentee ballots there are and the margin by which Dave has won them so far, that’s why we are confident of victory. Dave will win this race. #PASen
— Jeff Roe (@jeffroe) May 18, 2022
McCormick and Oz both delivered speeches at their respective election night parties and both conveyed confidence they would see eventual victory.
Appearing with his wife, Goldman Sachs executive Dina Powell, in front of a crowd of supporters in Pittsburgh, McCormick said shortly before midnight, “We’re going to win this campaign, and tomorrow, right now, we have tens of thousands of mail-in ballots that have not been counted that are going to need to be counted beginning tomorrow.”
“Unfortunately, we’re not going to have resolution tonight, but we can see the path ahead. We can see victory ahead, and it’s all because of you, so thank you, Pennsylvania,” McCormick added.
We’re going to take back this state. We’re going to take back this county. And it’s going to be because of you. pic.twitter.com/ex0sszkaeT
— Dave McCormick (@DaveMcCormickPA) May 18, 2022
Oz, speaking to his own supporters on the opposite side of the state in Newtown, also said he anticipated a victory. “When all the votes are tallied, I am confident we will win … We are making a ferocious charge,” Oz said.
The celebrity doctor also thanked his two most high-profile supporters, former President Donald Trump and Fox News’s Sean Hannity, for backing him in his race.
A third candidate, Kathy Barnette, had seen a last-minute surge following the last Senate debate and was seen as a competitive second-place contender in multiple recent public polls. However, Barnette underperformed on election night and was trailing too far behind McCormick and Oz to have any path to victory by the end of Tuesday evening.
Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.