Former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick conceded to celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s Republican primary Friday after a statewide recount.
Before the recount, Oz led the race by 972 votes out of the 1.34 million counted in the May 17 primary, The Associated Press reported. McCormick called Oz to concede after he realized he did not have the votes and vowed to back his candidacy.
“It’s now clear to me with the recount now largely complete that we have the nominee,” McCormick said at a campaign party inside a hotel in Pittsburgh. “And today I called Mehmet Oz to congratulate him on his victory. And I told him what I always said to you, that I will do my part to try to unite Republicans and Pennsylvanians behind his candidacy, behind his nomination for the Senate.”
— Dave McCormick (@DaveMcCormickPA) June 3, 2022
The race had been deemed too close to call as of Friday, leading the acting secretary of state to announce a recount in late May. Oz narrowly led with 31.2% and McCormick holding 31.1% of the vote, according to election results published by NBC News. Oz declared a “presumptive” victory reportedly at the behest of former President Donald Trump, who endorsed the daytime TV host in April.
“I am blessed to have earned the presumptive Republican nomination for the United States Senate,” Oz said in a video posted to Twitter on May 27. “I know we’ve got to heal, we’ve got to pull people together again.”
Trump said declaring victory would make it difficult for election officials to “cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happened to find,'” NBC News reported. (RELATED: GOP Senate Candidate Goads Sean Hannity, Dares Him To Host Debate With Dr Oz)
Oz received backlash from conservatives on his stances regarding guns, abortion, transgender issues and ties to major technology and pharmaceutical corporations. He hosted a doctor on his show who reportedly promoted hormone treatments and sex reassignment surgeries for minors in 2013. Regarding abortion, Oz previously claimed a fetal heart is not beating at six weeks gestation, despite a majority of scientists confirming a heart begins beating in the sixth week of pregnancy.
He previously called for imposing red flag laws, which allows law enforcement to request a judge to bar a citizen posing a violent threat from possessing a gun. His campaign website states that he opposes such measures.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed his “national security concerns” tied to Oz given that he has allegedly “engaged in the Turkish political process.” Oz, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Turkey, has continued to hold his Turkish citizenship and said he has never participated in that country’s political process.