Longtime Cliffside Park resident Mehmet Oz and his main opponent in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Pennsylvania, Dave McCormick, remain locked in an incredibly close race almost a week after Election Day, with an automatic recount now looking very likely.
Oz currently has 418,547 votes and 31.2% of the vote, just barely ahead of McCormick, who has 417,480 votes and 31.1%. As of last Friday, there were around 10,000 ballots still outstanding, most of them mail-in ballots, out of more than 1.3 million votes cast.
Adding further complications to the race, a federal appellate court ruled on Friday that certain undated mail-in ballots from the 2021 elections must be counted, which could impact the ongoing Senate primary count. Both Oz and McCormick have begun building teams of election lawyers for the imminent fight; McCormick, who has done better with mail-in ballots, will likely try to get as many of those votes counted as possible.
Under Pennsylvania law, any statewide race with a margin of less than 0.5% undergoes an automatic recount, which would be completed on June 7. Given that the two candidates are currently only separated by 0.08%, it seems like a recount is probably unavoidable.
But recounts typically only matter in races decided by truly tiny margins of votes; if Oz is still ahead by around 1,000 votes when the recount begins, it would be a significant surprise to see that lead overturned.
Oz, a TV medical personality and Donald Trump’s pick for retiring Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)’s open seat, spent most of his adult life in Bergen County and considered running as a Republican in New Jersey several times. But following the 2020 election – an election in which he voted in New Jersey – Oz switched his address to Montgomery County, where his in-laws live, and launched his first political campaign a year later.