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Mehmet Oz calls himself ‘presumptive’ GOP Senate nominee in Pennsylvania, even though a recount is on

Two women sitting at a table look at ballots.
Election workers in Danville, Pa., on Friday.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz described himself for the first time Friday as the party’s ”presumptive nominee,” even though a recount in his razor-thin primary contest is only getting started.

Oz, the celebrity doctor, leads former hedge fund executive David McCormick by fewer than 1,000 votes — or one-tenth of 1 percentage point — well within the 0.5% margin that triggers an automatic recount. It’s the seventh such recount since a 2004 state law set that threshold.

And while each of those recounts ended with the candidate who initially led as the final victor, the margin in this race is the slimmest to ever head to a recount in Pennsylvania.

Oz made the claim in a campaign video in which he thanked supporters and looked ahead to the general election.

“This was a tough campaign. I traveled everywhere,” he said. “You guys were pretty honest sharing with me. ... You want to make sure that the person you elect will stand up for what you believe is important. I am here to tell you that I am going to do that, but more importantly, I am going to reach to every corner of this commonwealth.”

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The nationally watched primary will determine who faces off against the Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, in a general election battle that will help determine which party controls the Senate.

McCormick, who along with Oz is waging a county-by-county fight over which ballots to count, released a statement Wednesday calling the race “razor-thin.”

“This narrow difference triggers an automatic recount,” he said, “and we look forward to a swift resolution.”

California’s 2022 primary election ballot includes races for governor, attorney general, the Legislature and Congress, as well as local contests.

Oz, who has the backing of former President Trump, shared the video on Twitter saying, “It’s time to unite.”

He had been encouraged by Trump to prematurely declare victory the day after the election.

“Dr. Oz should declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happened to find,’ ” Trump said on Truth Social, the social media platform he helped found.

Ballots are not found; they are lawfully counted, if sometimes slowly.

Former President Trump uses endorsements to punish foes, push election fraud lies and shape the Republican Party. How are his candidates faring?

Oz’s campaign has taken a more cautious approach. While the video released Friday did not mention the recount, a statement accompanying it noted that, “As the recount commences today Dr. Oz, the presumptive nominee for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, leads by over 900 votes.”

The recount will take several days, but the actual process of counting votes should go faster than it did after ballots were initially cast in the May 17 primary. Voters should expect the numbers to change slightly in the recount, as some ballots previously scanned by machines are reviewed by humans — and as both campaigns closely watch, and perhaps fight over, single votes.

The recount is expected to cost $1 million to administer and must be completed by June 7. It should run fairly smoothly. Election officials have recent experience from when an automatic recount was triggered in last November’s statewide Commonwealth Court race.


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