Dave McCormick concedes Pennsylvania Senate GOP primary to Trump-backed Mehmet

Oz is now set to face John Fetterman, the Democratic lieutenant governor who is recovering from a mid-May stroke, in the November election to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. It is expected to be one of the nation’s most expensive and closely watched contests in the battle for control of a Senate that is now split evenly between the parties.

McCormick’s Friday decision comes more than two weeks after their May 17 primary ended with Oz ahead by a margin of fewer than 1,000 votes out of more than 1.3 million cast in the Republican primary. The narrow margin triggered Pennsylvania’s automatic recount law, which takes effect when the margin between the top two finishers is 0.5 percentage point or less.

“We came so close,” McCormick told supporters, pointing to the “razor thin” margin.

“It’s now clear to me with the recount largely complete, that we have a nominee. And today I called Mehmet Oz to congratulate him on his victory. And I told him, what I always said to you, that I will do my part to try to unite Republicans and Pennsylvanians behind his candidacy,” McCormick said.

The recount began one week ago, and counties faced a Wednesday deadline to report their results. Lawyers for Oz and McCormick had fought county by county over provisional ballots.

McCormick’s campaign had also fought in court to have mail-in ballots without a handwritten date on the return envelope counted; Pennsylvania officials had said there were about 850 such ballots. A Pennsylvania judge sided with McCormick on Thursday, ordering the counties to begin counting those ballots, though the Republican National Committee had appealed that ruling Friday. The RNC, the state GOP and Oz’s campaign had argued that those ballots should not be counted.

Oz said in a statement following the concession that he had received a “gracious” call form McCormick and that he was “tremendously grateful for his pledge of support in the fall election.”

“We share the goal of a brighter future for Pennsylvania and America,” Oz continued. “Now that our primary is over, we will make sure that this U.S. Senate seat does not fall into the hands of the radical left, led by John Fetterman. I look forward to campaigning in every corner of the Commonwealth for the next five months to earn the support of every Pennsylvanian.”

Trump had encouraged Oz to follow his own conspiratorial tactics and declare victory. Oz referred to himself as the “presumptive” Republican nominee as the recount unfolded.

As ballots were tallied, the margin did not shift substantially in McCormick’s favor. A source close to McCormick’s campaign said it became clear that the math just wasn’t there for McCormick’s campaign and that McCormick wouldn’t gain the votes needed to overtake Oz.

Oz was propelled in the final weeks of the wide-open primary by the endorsement from Trump, who has been the biggest player in recent Senate primaries to replace retiring Republicans. The former President’s support lifted venture capitalist J.D. Vance to victory in Ohio and boosted US Rep. Ted Budd, who won easily in North Carolina.

The Pennsylvania race, much like in Ohio, exposed fractures within the GOP, with Trump endorsing a candidate…

Read More: Dave McCormick concedes Pennsylvania Senate GOP primary to Trump-backed Mehmet

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