Pennsylvania held its primary elections Tuesday but the race for the Republican nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat remains undecided and too close to call.
Trump-backed celebrity candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz appears to hold a slim lead over rival candidate David McCormick and the outcome could ultimately be determined by a dwindling number of uncounted mail-in absentee ballots, Breitbart reported Wednesday.
That potentially spells trouble for Oz as early analysis of mail-in ballots that had already been counted suggested that McCormick had a roughly nine percent lead in that regard that, if maintained among the as-yet uncounted ballots, would likely prove sufficient to close and reverse the gap and achieve victory for McCormick.
Slim lead for Oz, the race is likely headed to recount once all ballots counted
According to a constantly updated NBC News tracker of the Pennsylvania primary election results, as of around 6 pm ET on Thursday, Oz currently leads the race with 417,732 votes, or 31.2 percent, over McCormick’s 416,649 votes, or 31.1 percent of the more than 1.3 million ballots cast and counted in that GOP race thus far.
That is a difference of only 1,083 votes, or 0.1 percent, in favor of Oz, and the NBC News tracker showed that there were still approximately 17,000 ballots left to be counted in that race.
Wednesday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that there were roughly 105,000 mail-in absentee ballots that still needed to be counted for various reasons, though it was unclear how many of those ballots were from Democratic or Republican voters nor which particular races they were relevant to.
Further, it was noted that not all of those ballots would ultimately be counted, as some could be outright rejected for certain procedural failures while others could require manual adjudication or face legal challenges over a variety of potential questions.
Meanwhile, the Inquirer also reported that the too-close-to-call Republican Senate race would almost certainly end up in a mandatory recount at some point, given a state law that requires the additional count in races decided by a margin of 0.5 percent or less.
Advantage favors McCormick but both sides appear to declare victory
Breitbart pointed out that a reporter for the Inquirer, Jonathan Tamari, likely about the aforementioned advantage for McCormick among already counted mail-in ballots, suggested that McCormick would probably find the remaining number of ballots to be counted to be “potentially helpful” to his quest for victory over Oz.
Similarly, a top adviser and strategist for McCormick, Jeff Roe, predicted late Tuesday night that “Based on how many uncounted absentee ballots there are and the margin by which Dave has won them so far, that’s why we are confident of victory. Dave will win this race.”
Interestingly enough, though, Breitbart noted that both candidates seemed to all but declare victory in speeches delivered Tuesday night, with Oz telling his supporters at a party in Newtown, “When all the votes are tallied, I am confident we will win. … We are making a ferocious charge.”
McCormick told his supporters at a party in Pittsburgh, “We’re going to win this campaign, and tomorrow — right now, we have tens of thousands of mail-in ballots that have not been counted that are going to need to be counted beginning tomorrow.”