The Lead

Pa.’s GOP U.S. Senate race still too close to call. Here’s what to know

By: - May 19, 2022 2:58 pm

GOP U.S. Senate hopefuls David McCormick (L) and Mehmet Oz (R) | Capital-Star photo collage by John L. Micek

With only 1,323 votes separating the two leading Republicans in the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race, the contest, which is likely to trigger an automatic recount, is still too close to call.

Unofficial and incomplete results show that Trump-endorsed celebrity heart surgeon Mehmet Oz received 417,064 votes against former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick’s 415,735 just before 3 p.m. Thursday. The successful GOP candidate will face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who swiftly secured the Democratic nomination, in the November election.

The Department of State told the Capital-Star that as of 10 a.m. on Thursday, there were approximately 51,000 mail ballots — mail-in and absentee — still to be counted. Of those, 34,000 are Democratic ballots, and 17,000 are Republican ballots.

Counties with the most ballots left include:

Philadelphia: 30,000

Delaware: 4,8000

Lancaster: 3,800

Greene: 1,777

Tioga: 1,298

Oz and McCormick appeared on Fox News late Wednesday evening; both said they were hopeful of a victory.

“This election is ours,” Oz told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “We have done well.”

McCormick, however, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham “there are tens of thousands of absentee ballots that will be counted.”

He added: “And when they’re counted, I will ultimately take the lead.”

Pennsylvania election law requires a recount if the difference between the final two candidates for a statewide office is 0.5 percent of the vote or less.

The automatic recount provision was enacted under Act 97 of 2004 and has been triggered six times, with three recounts carried out and three recounts waived by defeated candidates. Of the three recounts carried out, all of them confirmed the initial results.

The candidate in second place can decline a recount in writing to the secretary of state. The Department of State must receive the request by noon on the second Wednesday after the election. In this case, that would be May 25.

Pennsylvania election law calls for the secretary of state to order a recount by 5 p.m. the second Thursday after Election Day. In this case, acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman could order a recount on Thursday, May 26.

The law requires that county election boards recount all ballots using a different method than the initial tabulation. This could be by hand or using a different mechanical or electronic device.

Affected candidates are entitled to be present or have representation by an attorney to observe the recount process.

Candidates should receive 24-hour notice before a recount, which must be scheduled by the third Wednesday after Election Day. In this case, that would be June 1.

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Marley Parish
Marley Parish

A Pennsylvania native, Marley Parish covers the Senate for the Capital-Star. She previously reported on government, education and community issues for the Centre Daily Times and has a background in writing, editing and design. A graduate of Allegheny College, Marley served as editor of the campus newspaper, where she also covered everything from student government to college sports.

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