September 26, 2022
Trailing Dr. Oz by just over 900 votes in Pennsylvania's GOP Senate primary, Dave McCormick asks for hand recount in 12 counties

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Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick’s campaign announced on Tuesday that the candidate is asking for a hand recount in a dozen Pennsylvania counties in the May 17 GOP Senate primary vote as the margin between McCormick and Mehmet Oz remains razor-thin.

“It’s been two weeks since Election Day, and we still don’t have a full vote count,” a senior McCormick campaign official told reporters.

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McCormick trails rival Dr. Mehmet Oz by just over 900 votes out of more than 1.3 million cast. Oz’s extremely narrow lead is well within the 0.5% threshold for an automatic recount of the results, which was ordered by state officials last week. Some counties have already begun the mandated machine recount, and all must start no later than Wednesday. Counties must conclude their tabulations by noon on June 7 and submit their recount results by noon the next day.

Republican candidate for a Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat, Dave McCormick, right, and his wife Dinah Powell, talk to supporters during his returns watch party in the Pennsylvania primary election, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Pittsburgh.

Republican candidate for a Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat, Dave McCormick, right, and his wife Dinah Powell, talk to supporters during his returns watch party in the Pennsylvania primary election, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

But the McCormick senior campaign official lamented, “We’re doing a recount of a count that I actually don’t know the results of… We have essentially two different sources of data. One being the counties. Two being the Department of State, with completely different [results].”

The official said, “We’re going to ask today for a hand recount of 12 different counties to get a complete sense of the delta between what the counties are providing our campaign and what the Department of State [is providing]… We have between 15-20 thousand vote discrepancy between the ballots cast and the ballots counted.”

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“We’re going to understand with a hand recount where any abnormalities exist and actually have a receipt that we can trust and verify,” the official emphasized.

Oz, the cardiac surgeon, author and well-known celebrity physician who until the launch of his Senate campaign late last year was host of TV’s popular “Dr. Oz Show,” and McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, West Point graduate, Gulf War combat veteran and Treasury Department official in former President George W. Bush‘s administration, were the top two vote getters among the seven candidates on the ballot in the GOP Senate primary. 

Mehmet Oz, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, waves to supporters at a primary night election gathering in Newtown, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

Mehmet Oz, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, waves to supporters at a primary night election gathering in Newtown, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in the key general election battleground state is one of a handful across the nation that will likely determine if the GOP wins back the Senate majority in November’s midterms.

In asking for the hand recount — which McCormick would pay for — the campaign senior official said that “there’s a list of counties and precincts where the undervote falls outside the norm… We’re asking for hand recounts in the outlier areas…. We’ve gone day after day after day with no reconciliation between the vote count and the vote tally.”

The 12 counties are Allegheny, York, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Erie, Lancaster, Monroe, Schuykill, Delaware, Bucks and Westmoreland.

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Either McCormick or Oz will face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who easily won the Democratic nomination. The official said that the requested hand recounts in the 12 counties could be run concurrently with the state mandated automatic machine recount “because we don’t want to elongate the process. We don’t want to cause any delays. We want the Republican primary voters to know that they have a winner whether it’s by one vote or a thousand votes, so we can all get behind the nominee and beat Fetterman in the fall.”

Oz on Friday, as the automatic recount was getting underway, declared himself the “presumptive” nominee. In a vide posted on social media, Oz shad he was “blessed to have earned the presumptive Republican nomination for the United States Senate” and urged Republicans that it’s “time to unite.”

Oz, McCormick and the other major contenders in the GOP nomination race all worked for months to land former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Sixteen months removed from the White House, the former president remains the most popular and influential politician in the Republican Party as he continues to play a kingmaker’s role in party primaries and repeatedly flirts with another national bid in 2024.

Trump endorsed Oz last month, and thanks to his full-court press during the closing days of the campaign on behalf of Oz, he was a key factor in the race. His vocal support for Oz was likely instrumental in easing fears of many on the right who were concerned about Oz’s conservative credentials.

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Trump — who for a year and a half has continuously re-litigated his 2020 presidential election loss and repeatedly makes unproven claims that the election was “rigged” with “massive voter fraud” — on the day after the primary alleged in a statement on social media that “in Pennsylvania they are unable to count the Mail-in Ballots It is a BIG MESS.”

And he urged that “Dr. Oz should declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happen to find.’” 

Fox News’ Courtney De George contributed to this report