Former hedge fund executive David McCormick has conceded to wellness celebrity Mehmet Oz in the Republican primary race for a US Senate seat in Pennsylvania, following a recount – securing another Donald Trump-endorsed candidate in a critical midterm election.
Oz, who will square off against Democrat John Fetterman in the November 8 midterm election to replace retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey, won by a margin of 916 votes, according to Edison Research.
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The race is crucial to Republican hopes of regaining control of a Senate now narrowly held by President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats.
“I will do my part to try to unite Republicans and Pennsylvanians behind his candidacy, behind his nomination for the Senate,” McCormick said on Friday in conceding to Oz.
Oz secured 419,643 votes versus 418,727 for McCormick, according to Edison Research.
Trump has endorsed more than 190 candidates in the midterm contests, trying to solidify his status as the Republican Party kingmaker. His picks have not always prevailed.
Trump endorsed Oz in April, after his previous pick in the race dropped out when his estranged wife alleged physical abuse and he lost a battle over custody of his children.
Oz and McCormick both positioned themselves as champions of Trump’s populist “America First” agenda.
“I look forward to campaigning in every corner of the Commonwealth for the next five months to earn the support of every Pennsylvanian,” Oz said on Friday.
Republicans are seeking to regain control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in November. They are well positioned to regain control of the House, which could enable them to stonewall Biden’s legislative agenda.
Democrats have a better chance of keeping their razor-thin Senate majority, but to do so will need to perform well in races including in Pennsylvania.
Fetterman, the state’s current lieutenant governor, said on Friday that he “almost died” from a stroke suffered days before the May 17 primary and which has kept him off the campaign trail, indicating that his condition was graver than initially suggested.
“I’m not quite back to 100 percent yet, but I’m getting closer every day,” he said.
Oz, 61, is a Harvard graduate heart surgeon, New York Times bestselling author and self-styled wellness advocate who is best known as the host of daytime television programme The Dr Oz Show. He had to overcome a barrage of attack ads and misgivings among hardline Trump backers about his conservative credentials on guns, abortion, transgender rights and other core Republican issues.
He leaned on Trump’s endorsement as proof of his conservative bona fides, while Trump attacked Oz’s rivals and maintained that Oz has the best chance of winning in November in the presidential battleground state.
Oz had had little history with the Republican Party – but he had a friendship with Trump going back almost 20 years and, as Trump told him in a 2016 appearance on Oz’s show, “you know my wife’s a big fan of your show”.
Meanwhile, McCormick made Oz’s dual citizenship in Turkey an issue in the race, suggesting that Oz would be a national security risk. If elected, Oz would be the nation’s first Muslim senator.
Born in the United States, Oz served in Turkey’s military and voted in its 2018 election. Oz said he would renounce his Turkish citizenship if he won the November election, and he accused McCormick of making “bigoted” attacks.