Pennsylvania’s vital Senate race remains deadlocked after an evening of vote counting, with Republicans Mehmet Oz and David McCormick effectively tied and facing an automatic recount. With a minuscule lead, Oz admitted to supporters after a long night of waiting that there would be no immediate result, though he expressed confidence in the outcome of the race and was preemptively declared the winner by former President Donald Trump.
Oz and McCormick still extremely close
A recount is triggered automatically in Pennsylvania if candidates are separated by 0.5 percent or less; Oz and McCormick are currently separated by 0.2 percent and roughly 2,000 votes.
Both men have faced skepticism about their sincerity, as their records have not always matched the conservative rhetoric they have espoused in their campaigns.
A late surge by third-place candidate Kathy Barnette had the potential to upset the race, but her momentum stalled after questions about her own past emerged in the final days of the race and Trump himself questioned her authenticity.
That left Barnette in a distant third, meaning that the race is now strictly between McCormick and Oz. McCormick had a slight lead early but as rural ballots continued to come in it became clear that there would be no clear winner.
Thousands of votes in Lancaster County still haven’t been counted; an error with the ballots meant that votes couldn’t be scanned.
Those ballots are now being counted, but it may not be possible for the county to finalize its results before the end of the week. In such a tight race that delay may hold up the entire process statewide.
Fetterman wins easily
The Democrats have no such problem; Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman swept aside all opposition and won comfortably despite suffering a stroke just days before the election.
Fetterman has downplayed his health issues, but they could play a role in the general election in what is expected to be another very close race.
The Republican who prevails when the counting is over will have to rally support after a primary that was much more divisive than Fetterman’s.
Barnette has suggested that she will not support another nominee and McCormick and Oz have been trading attacks constantly over the course of the race.
Retiring Senator Pat Toomey has not endorsed any of the Republican candidates so far, but the Trump endorsement was likely a more powerful asset anyway.
Oz, McCormick, and Barnette all claimed to be the true representatives of Trump’s agenda in the race. In fact, Trump’s first choice was forced to drop out of the race early due to a domestic violence scandal. Oz was Trump’s second choice, but the former president has campaigned extensively for him.