Politics

Dr. Oz Opponent Still Hoping Mail-in Ballots Are a “Miracle Cure” for Losing to Dr. Oz

Side by side head shots of Mehmet Oz and David McCormick, each wearing a dour expression.
Cheer up, guys! Only one of you probably lost an election to Dr. Oz. Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images.

Hey, what happened to Mehmet “Dr. Oz” Oz? He was running for Senate in Pennsylvania against a more traditional type of rich guy and a MAGA woman who refused to tell anyone where she grew up. That election was last week. John Fetterman, the tall man who always dresses like he is going bowling, won the corresponding Democratic primary. The tall man needs an opponent! What’s the deal?

The deal is that the Republican Party is freaking out about mail-in ballots again, but this time as an intramural matter.

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As of the last update from the Pennsylvania secretary of state’s office, the would-be Dr. Sen. Oz is currently leading the race by 967 votes over David McCormick, the other rich guy. However! As the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Lai explains here, that number is still unofficial, and no one knows exactly how many votes might yet be added to the total—although, given that counties are down to figuring out which provisional and mail-in ballots are valid, that number is probably closer to zero than it is to, say, 50,000.

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Some of those mail-in ballots—the precise number is unknown—are problematic because they were signed but not dated by voters.

Last Friday, a federal appeals court ruled that signed-but-undated ballots cast in a (separate) judicial election in Lehigh County from 2021 should be counted, so McCormick is now suing to count those kinds of ballots in his race as well. He has been winning a plurality of mail-ins so far, so the more that get counted, the better for him.

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The state issued “guidance” to its counties on Tuesday, which instructed them to tabulate undated ballots for now, but also to keep track of them lest they be thrown out by a later court ruling. On that front, both the state and national Republican parties say they will file motions opposing McCormick’s suit, a position that may have something to do with Oz having been endorsed by Donald Trump.

On top of all that, the state is expected to announce Wednesday that the race will be subject to an automatic recount because Oz’s margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent. In the words of Votebeat editorial director Jessica Huseman, however, “Recounts almost never change the results of an election.”

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In any case, the acrimony is very sad and tragic given how united Republicans were, in 2020, in believing that Pennsylvania mail-in ballots (which broke mostly for Joe Biden) were all fraudulent. In fact, the New York Times reports that McCormick recently hired a Republican operative named Mike Roman who worked with Rudy Giuliani to try and overturn Pennsylvania’s 2020 result; the lawyer who submitted McCormick’s lawsuit regarding mail-in ballots, Ronald Hicks, was also involved for a time in Trump and Giuliani’s failed effort to find a judge who would declare that mail-in ballots are illegal.

Sounds like those two fellows must have simply changed their mind after some good-faith consideration of the facts. You’re never too old to learn and grow!

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