• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Republican Senate race in Pennsylvania too close to call

·Senior Writer
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The race for the Republican Senate nomination in Pennsylvania between David McCormick and Dr. Mehmet Oz remained too close to call Wednesday morning.

McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, and Oz, the celebrity doctor who has the backing of former President Donald Trump, could possibly end up going to an automatic recount in the race to fill the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, which is triggered if the margin of victory is within 0.5%. Both men told supporters late Tuesday that they expected to win when all the votes were counted.

Senate candidate David McCormick.
Senate candidate David McCormick addresses supporters in Pittsburgh late Tuesday. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

The Pennsylvania secretary of state said it could be a “few days” until unofficial results are available.

Kathy Barnette, a political commentator and former House candidate who surged in polling during the final week of the campaign, finished third in the Republican primary behind McCormick and Oz. Her defeat is welcome news to national Republicans, who feared that her political inexperience and hard-line views would doom her in a general election. Trump and Fox News host Sean Hannity were among the conservatives saying she wasn’t vetted and would cost Republicans come November.

Oz and McCormick both moved to the state to compete for the seat. Oz, who attended medical school and business school at the University of Pennsylvania, relocated from New Jersey, while McCormick, a Pennsylvania native, moved from Connecticut.

While Oz earned Trump’s endorsement, he received a mixed reception at a rally in western Pennsylvania earlier this month, with many of the attendees booing him.

“Dr. Oz, I’ve known him a long time,” Trump said at the May 6 event. “His show is great. He’s on that screen, he’s in the bedrooms of all those women telling them good and bad, and they love him. He came into a place where we had a lot of women sitting there waiting for something unrelated, they started going crazy, ‘Is that Dr. Oz?’”

Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Dr. Mehmet Oz speaks to supporters in Newtown, Pa., on Tuesday. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Since earning Trump’s endorsement, Oz has started to repeat the former president’s conspiracy theories about the 2020 election being stolen, saying at a debate in April, “I have discussed it with President Trump and we cannot move on. … We have to be serious about what happened in 2020, and we won’t be able to address that until we can really look under the hood.”

Trump used the pro-Oz rally to lash out at McCormick, calling him a “liberal Wall Street Republican” who had begged for his endorsement.

“He fought hard for [the endorsement], he wanted it, he hired almost every person that worked — if anyone was within 200 miles of me, he hired them,” Trump said of McCormick, who is married to former Trump administration aide Dina Powell. “But he did want my endorsement very badly, but I just couldn’t do it.”

The two Republicans, who both have vast personal fortunes, unloaded millions on television ads attacking one another and attempting to establish their conservative bona fides. Oz attacked McCormick for doing business in China, while McCormick repeatedly criticized the Ohio-born Oz for maintaining dual citizenship in the U.S. and Turkey. Oz and McCormick have also repeatedly accused the other of being a liberal.

Prior to a decade-plus as the CEO of Bridgewater Capital, McCormick worked in the Treasury Department for President George W. Bush. Despite his firm footing in the Republican establishment, he spent much of his campaign attempting to market himself as a Trump-style “America first” populist.

Oz has said that if he wins the Senate seat he will relinquish his Turkish citizenship. The daytime talk show host and cardiothoracic surgeon is the son of Turkish immigrants and served in the Turkish military in the 1980s to maintain his citizenship there, which he says he uses to care for his ailing mother. If elected, Oz would be the first Muslim to serve in the U.S. Senate.

The winner will face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who won the Democratic primary easily Tuesday night. The race is considered the Democrats’ best opportunity to pick up a Senate seat in November.