Trump is urging Oz to “declare victory” before the vote count is complete in the Republican primary for Pennsylvania’s Senate.
On Wednesday, the former president sought to declare on his social media site, Truth Social, that Oz had won, even though the race was not called. He derided mail-in ballots by posting, “Here we go again! In Pennsylvania, they cannot count mail-in ballots. That’s a BIG MESSAGE. Our country should switch to paper ballots, with voting the same day. Just made in France, zero problem. Get America smart!”
Later, he urged Oz to “declare victory”.
“It’s much harder for them to cheat on the ballots they ‘just found,'” Trump said, providing no evidence.
Pennsylvania Primary Election Results
As of Wednesday morning, Oz, who won Trump’s endorsement in April, held a slim lead over McCormick, who was seeking Trump’s backing and was backed by many of Trump’s allies. With 95% of the votes counted, Oz was at 31.3% and McCormick at 31.1%.
Pennsylvania law mandates an automatic recount if a candidate’s margin of victory is 0.5 points or less. Thousands of mail-in ballots have yet to be counted.
The winner will face Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who overwhelmingly won the Democratic nomination. Fetterman is recovering from a recent stroke that sidelined him on the campaign trail in the final days of the primary. He hopes to be back on the track in a few days, his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, told CNN Wednesday morning.
The race is seen as a crucial front in the battle for the Senate majority. The Pennsylvania seat is held by a Republican, Senator Patrick J. Toomey, who is retiring.
President Biden’s low approval rating has fueled Democratic concerns about November’s midterm elections, particularly in key battleground races. Republicans have sought to rally voter support amid concerns about rising inflation, crime and other issues, creating major political headwinds for the ruling party in Washington.
The contentious race between Oz and McCormick left an opening for a third candidate, Kathy Barnette, to grain traction in the final weeks of the campaign among voters who were disappointed with their top picks. Barnette, who competed for Trump supporters with a far-right platform that embraced many of the former president’s ideas, including his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, was on point. to finish a distant third.
Trump and Oz viciously attacked McCormick, describing the former hedge fund executive and military veteran as a “liberal Wall Street Republican” who wasn’t really “MAGA,” the acronym of the campaign slogan.” Make America Great Again” by Trump in 2016. McCormick brought in Mike Pompeo, who served as Trump’s secretary of state, to raise questions about Oz’s dual citizenship with Turkey.
Speaking to supporters on Tuesday night, Oz thanked Trump and Fox News’ Sean Hannity for helping with his campaign.
“President Trump, after endorsing me, has continued to look into this race in Pennsylvania. …God bless you, sir, for putting so much effort into this race. I will make you proud,” said Oz. “I want to thank Sean Hannity. … He understands exactly how to make a difference, and he did that throughout the campaign, much of it behind the scenes.
The Democratic Senate primary, in which Fetterman defeated Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, was far less personal. Top Democrats did not endorse any candidate in the race, but were quick to offer their support to Fetterman when it became clear shortly after the polls closed that he would be the decisive winner. He would collect nearly 60% of the votes.
“Democrats are united around John, who is a strong candidate, will have a tough race and can win in November,” Biden said in a statement 90 minutes after polls closed. “And while we await the results of the GOP primary, one thing is clear: These candidates are not your father’s GOP. They fought off a malicious and chaotic primary to be the most extreme. … Whoever emerges will be too dangerous, too cowardly, and too extreme to represent Pennsylvania in the United States Senate.
Fetterman is nearly 6-foot-9, with a shaved head, goatee, and tattoos on both arms. With his oversized hoodies, athletic shorts, sneakers and clear style, he has generated a deep fan base among voters disillusioned with recent politics.
In every state except Pennsylvania, which held midterm primaries this year, turnout fell 41 to 70 percentage points from 2020 — not surprisingly, since 2020 was a presidential primary. But in Pennsylvania, the drop in turnout was only 17 percentage points, evidence of great enthusiasm among Democratic voters.
Part of the delay in Republican race results was due to a printing error that rendered thousands of ballots unreadable in Lancaster County, the state’s sixth-most populous county. These ballots had to be redone by hand and then scanned.
There are “quite a few ballots” left to count in the Republican primary, Acting Commonwealth Secretary Leigh Chapman said during an appearance on CNN. Although Chapman said she could not provide a figure, Associated Press figures suggested that at least 24,000 mail-in and mail-in ballots had yet to be counted. Oz was in the lead with less than 2,500 votes.
Lenny Bronner and John Wagner contributed to this report.