HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick conceded the Pennsylvania Republican primary for the U.S. Senate to famed heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, ending his campaign Friday night as he acknowledged that a an ongoing statewide recount would not give him enough votes to close the deficit.
McCormick said he called Oz to concede.
“It’s now clear to me, with the recount now largely complete, that we have a candidate,” McCormick said at a campaign party at a Pittsburgh hotel. “Tonight is really all of us coming together.”
Prior to the recount, Oz led McCormick by 972 votes out of 1.34 million votes counted in the May 17 primary. The Associated Press did not declare a winner in the race as an automatic recount is underway and the gap between the two candidates is just 0.07 percentage points.
Friday’s development sets up a general election between Oz, which was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, and Democrat John Fetterman in what is expected to be one of the nation’s top Senate contests. The stroke could help determine control of the tightly divided chamber.
Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, acknowledged in a statement earlier Friday that he nearly died after suffering a stroke days before his primary. He said he had ignored warning signs for years and a doctor’s advice to take blood thinners.
Oz, who is best known as the host of daytime TV show ‘The Dr. Oz Show,’ has had to overcome millions of dollars in attack ads and apprehensions from diehard Trump supporters about his credentials. conservatives on guns, abortion, transgender rights and more. fundamental republican questions.
Oz, 61, relied on Trump’s endorsement as proof of his conservative good faith, while Trump attacked Oz’s rivals and argued that Oz had the best chance of winning in November in the State of the presidential battleground.
The rivals made Oz’s dual citizenship in Turkey an issue in the race. If elected, Oz would be the country’s first Muslim senator.
American-born Oz served in the Turkish military and voted in its 2018 election. Oz said he would give up his Turkish citizenship if he won the November election, and he accused McCormick of commit “sectarian” attacks.
Oz and McCormick blanketed the state airwaves with political ads for months, spending millions of their own money. Virtually unknown four months ago, McCormick had to run for voters, and he tapped into Oz’s long record as a public figure for material in attack ads. He got help from a super PAC who was backing him and spent $20 million.
Like McCormick, Oz left the state to show up in Pennsylvania.
Oz, a Harvard graduate, New York Times best-selling author and self-proclaimed wellness advocate, has lived for the past two decades in a mansion in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, above the Hudson River overlooking Manhattan – appealing accusations of being a baggage handler and tourist policy.
The famed heart surgeon highlighted his Pennsylvania ties, saying he grew up just across the Delaware state line, went to medical school in Philadelphia and married a native of Pennsylvania.
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