July 18, 2024 9:31 pm
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What Happens if Pennsylvania GOP Senate Race Triggers a Recount


Reinette LeJeune

With the conclusion of the May 17th general primary, both Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick remain head-to-head in the race for the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, one of the key positions poised to determine control of the chamber in November. The race has yet to be called in favor of either candidate, with many suggesting the race may be headed for a recount. According to Pennsylvania law, if the final margin is close enough, a recount is triggered automatically, although the candidates would have the option to waive it.

The Secretary of State is required to enact a recount across all county boards of elections if a candidate in a statewide election was defeated by one-half of one percent (.5%) or less of the votes cast. Both GOP candidates have expressed confidence that they will emerge victorious after all the ballots have been counted and/or recounted. 

Under the Election Code, the Pennsylvania Department of State has reported that the order for recount would need to be issued by 5 p.m. of the second Thursday after the election, in this case by 5 p.m. Thursday, May 26, 2022. By law, the county board of elections would be required to recount all ballots using a different method than the initial tabulation –  by hand, by a different mechanical or electronic device, etc. Candidates are also entitled to attend or be represented by an attorney to observe the recount proceedings. 

On the other side of the aisle, John Fetterman secured the Democratic party nomination in his bid for the U.S. Senate — two days after suffering a stroke. The 6-foot-8, goateed and tattooed Pennsylvania Lt. Governor who sported gym shorts on the campaign trail was an absolute hit among Democratic primary voters, positioning himself to the left of his moderate-minded opponents. A supporter of Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid in 2016, Fetterman has been a proud advocate for many progressive legislations – eliminating the filibuster, raising the minimum wage and legalizing marijuana are some examples. 

Pennsylvania’s Senate race might be Democrats’ best chance this fall to flip a seat that previously belonged to a Republican, in what’s otherwise expected to be a poor midterm showing for the party.