Primaries Post-Mortem: With a Recount in Pennsylvania and a Runoff in Alabama, It's Anything Goes Through November

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

The legacy media is confirming what everyone else already knew: The Pennsylvania Senate race between television personality and newly-minted politician Dr. Mehmet Oz and hedge fund CEO and former Under Secretary of the Treasury David McCormick will go to a recount.


As RedState reported, the race was neck and neck on May 17 with McCormick looking to edge out Oz. However, as more counting was done, McCormick’s lead began to evaporate and he made an adversarial move, as our sister site Townhall reported.

On Monday afternoon, McCormick filed a lawsuit to force Pennsylvania election officials to count absentee and mail-in ballots *even* if the outer envelope does not have a date handwritten on it along with a voter’s signature as Pennsylvania’s election code requires.

In light of the last year-and-a-half, this is dangerous ground to tread upon. But McCormick went there anyway.

As the complaint alleges, some county election boards in Pennsylvania “refuse to count ballots where the voter failed to handwrite a date on the envelope but otherwise complied with all applicable requirements, and where the Boards stamped the envelope with the date the Boards received the absentee ballot.” McCormick further claims that such refusal to count ballots that don’t meet the requirements set forth in Pennsylvania “violates the protections of the right to vote under the federal Civil Rights Act and the Pennsylvania Constitution.”

The state GOP and the RNC have refused to back McCormick’s play, and allowed the process of Pennsylvania’s electoral rules and laws to proceed.


Thus, here we are.

From CNN:

Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate primary is headed for a recount after celebrity heart surgeon Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund director Dave McCormick finished in a near tie in the May 17 contest.

Acting Pennsylvania secretary of State Leigh Chapman made the announcement Wednesday, noting that the margin between the two candidates was just 902 votes after all of Pennsylvania’s counties reported their unofficial results to the state on Tuesday — within the 0.5% automatic recount threshold. Chapman reported that Oz, who was backed by former President Donald Trump, had 419,365 votes and McCormick had 418,463 votes. The state’s results page does not currently match those totals.

Trump’s endorsement of Oz has had its share of controversy, as has pulling his endorsement from Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks.

Trump’s retraction was deemed by many a fatal blow, but it ended up giving new traction to Brooks’ race. On Tuesday, Brooks managed to keep Katie Britt, former chief of staff to retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, and other challenger Mike Durant from reaching 50 percent. Brooks will now face Britt in a runoff election and is calling for a debate before the June 21 runoff happens.


“My thought is, let’s have at it,” Brooks said Tuesday night. “If you can defend these attack ads that your team has launched against me, I dare you. Because you know what? I’m going to be able to expose them for the scurrilous lies that they are, that has orchestrated this campaign with a lot of out of state money, a lot of Mitch McConnell money, a lot of open borders and cheap foreign labor money.

“And if we have those kinds of debates, she better bring whatever she wants to wear to be ready to duke it out. Because it’s going to be a fight. It’s going to be no holds barred. It’ll be Muhammad Ali.”

Katie Britt does not seem to be warming up to the idea.

The Britt campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry Wednesday about their position on a debate.

With what appears to be much of Alabama media carrying Katie Britt’s water and presumptively projecting that she will win, why muddy the waters?

Britt’s success at the polls Tuesday may signal that she does not need to take part in a debate. Though she failed to win more than 50% of the vote to avoid the runoff, she received the most votes in 62 of Alabama’s 67 counties. Brooks won his home county of Madison by almost 2,000 votes (almost 3% more than Britt) while outdistancing Britt by just 34 votes in neighboring Limestone County.

In another neighboring county, Brooks edged Britt by less than 1% of the vote in Morgan County, home of Decatur.

Brooks also prevailed by less than 1% in Shelby County in the Birmingham metro area and by 141 votes (less than 2%) in rural Blount County outside Birmingham.


As I surmised in my analysis on Wednesday, both Senate races can be seen as a bellwether of a national trend. While some typical electoral patterns may come to bear, from this perspective it is anything goes through November. There is no clear pattern that endorsements matter, or that a candidate who looks like they have the edge will actually win a race. What is clear: Voters do not wish to be patronized or pigeon-holed; they want to vet the candidates themselves for their own purposes and then make their own choices.

As it should be.


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