By ANTHONY HENNEN
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — It’s official: The Pennsylvania race to be the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate has triggered a recount.
Celebrity surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick are separated by fewer than 1,000 votes from more than 1.3 million cast, well within the 0.5% margin that mandates the Department of State to order a statewide recount.
The unofficial vote count, according to the department’s news release announcing the recount on Wednesday, has Dr. Oz with 419,365 votes (31.21%), ahead of Mr. McCormick’s 418,463 votes (31.14%).
As The Center Square previously reported, the Pennsylvania election has attracted national attention for both its ability to tip the balance of power in Congress and as a bellwether for former President Donald Trump’s influence in the Republican Party. Mr. Trump endorsed Dr. Oz while the state’s Republican Party declined to endorse any candidate in all statewide races.
Counties must begin the recount by June 7 at noon, but can start on Friday, and must submit their recount results by June 8 at noon. It will cost taxpayers $1 million, the department estimated. Since Act 97 of 2004 passed, which has the automatic recount provision, it has taken effect seven times and led to three recounts.
Of the recounts that were carried out, all three affirmed the unofficial results.
The recount could get more complicated: Mr. McCormick’s campaign filed a lawsuit Monday to require election officials to count mail-in and absentee ballots that did not have a date on the envelope. While the envelopes were postmarked and returned to election officials on time, state law required voters to sign and date their ballots on the outside of the envelope. Dr. Oz’s campaign opposes the requirement to count those ballots.
Dr. Oz led at the end of Election Day, but the margin has been cut roughly in half since absentee and mail-in votes began getting counted.