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,” urged Republicans that it’s “time to unite” as he made his announcement Friday in a video released on social media.
The announcement came on the same day that Pennsylvania counties could begin their recount in the race between Oz and Dave McCormick, the top two vote-getters among the seven candidates in last week’s Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania.
According to unofficial returns from the Pennsylvania Department of State, Oz leads McCormick by 902 votes, which is well within the .5% threshold for an automatic recount of the results. Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh Chapman announced on Wednesday that the election was headed to a recount. Counties could begin recounting the vote as early as Friday but must start no later than June 1. And counties must conclude their tabulations by noon on June 7 and submit their recount results by noon the next day.
Even as the recount was announced, counting of the vote from the May 17 primary continues.
Deputy secretary of elections and commissions Jonathan Marks said on Thursday that an estimated 10,000 ballots have yet to be counted – including roughly 6,000 mail-in and absentee ballots (including as many as 3,000 overseas or military ballots) and 4,000 provisional ballots. No breakdown on how many of the remaining ballots to be tabulated were cast in the Republican or Democratic primaries was given.
Either McCormick or Oz will face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who easily won the Democratic nomination in the fight to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey. The race is one of a handful across the country that will likely decide if Republicans win back the Senate majority in November’s midterm elections.
McCormick said in a statement earlier this week that “this narrow difference triggers an automatic recount, and we look forward to a swift resolution so our party can unite to defeat socialist John Fetterman in the fall.”
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.
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 last week’s 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.’”