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David McCormick concedes to Dr Oz in Pennsylvania’s GOP senate primary election

While a recount is still underway, the TV personality is set to face John Fetterman in this November’s general election for a US Senate seat in the battleground state

Alex Woodward
New York
Saturday 04 June 2022 00:33 BST
Related video: Doctor: Pennsylvania’s Fetterman also has cardiomyopathy

Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick has conceded the Republican primary election for a US Senate seat in Pennsylvania to celebrity surgeon and television wellness expert Mehmet Oz, who is now set to face Democratic candidate John Fetterman in a fall general election in the battleground state.

Mr McCormick, speaking at an election event in the state on 3 June, said he called Dr Oz to concede after trailing the TV personality in a statewide recount of the votes in the closely watched primary race.

Prior to the recount, Dr Oz was leading Mr McCormick by fewer than 1,000 votes among the more than 1.3 million ballots cast in the 17 May primary race, triggering an automatic recount.

Mr McCormick’s departure now sets up a general election between now-GOP candidate Oz and Mr Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, for control of a seat that could determine the balance of Congress and control of the upper chamber.

Dr Oz, whose controversial segments on The Oprah Winfrey Show and his own daytime programme have faced widespread scrutiny for promoting pseudoscience and misinformation-as-entertainment, joins a wave of GOP figures who have embraced Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda and earned the former president’s endorsement.

The former president even urged his candidate the day after the election – when the votes were still too close to call – to just “declare victory,” baselessly suggesting that ballots were fraudulent, reviving his own conspiratorial election claims in the state that he lost to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Dr Oz made a surprise turn into Pennsylvania politics last year, supporting a range of current right-wing platforms – including firing White House medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci, supporting the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade and protections for Second Amendment rights – despite his previous support for abortion access and self-description as a “Teddy Roosevelt Republican”.

Like Mr McCormick, he moved to Pennsylvania in order to quality to run for office there.

Mr Fetterman is returning to the campaign trail after a stroke days before the primary and a subsequent surgery for a pacemaker and defibrillator the day of the election.

He revealed in a statement from his doctor on Friday he has been diagnosed with a heart condition called cardiomyopathy and has left his health issues untreated for the last five years despite taking his doctor’s advice to exercise and lose weight.

“Like so many others and so many men in particular, I avoided going to the doctor, even though I knew I didn’t feel well,” Mr Fetterman said in a statement. “As a result, I almost died. I want to encourage others to not make the same mistake.”

Mr Fetterman said that he thought exercising and losing weight would be enough to combat his health issues.

“Of course it wasn’t,” he said. “I didn’t do what the doctor told me. But I won’t make the same mistake again. Taking care of others is important but you must include yourself in there too.”

An automatic recount in the GOP primary started last month. Mr McCormick’s campaign filed a lawsuit to include in his tally roughly 850 ballots that did not have handwritten dates on the envelopes as required, though they were received in time.

The Pennsylvania Republican Party and Republican National Committee sought to dismiss the suit, through a Pennsylvania court sided his the campaign. But Mr McCormick has appeared to admit on Friday that the votes would not be enough to close the gap between him and his opponent.

“We came so close, a razor-thin margin. But we have a nominee,” Mr McCormick said on Friday.

He said that Dr Oz has his “full support.”

“I wish him well in the next phase of the campaign,” he said.

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