By Brian Rokus and Paul LeBlanc, CNN
A recount shows that Mehmet Oz, the celebrity heart surgeon endorsed by former President Donald Trump, defeated Dave McCormick by 951 votes in Pennsylvania’s Senate GOP primary, according to the commonwealth’s acting secretary of state.
Oz received 419,999 votes (31.1%) while McCormick received 419,048 votes (31.0%), the acting secretary of state said in a news release Wednesday night. Vote totals within one-half of one percent margin (0.5%) automatically trigger a mandatory recount.
McCormick had already conceded the race last week.
Oz will face Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in one of the nation’s marquee Senate races of this year’s midterm elections. Republicans view holding on to the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey as key to their hopes of capturing the Senate majority, while Democrats see flipping seats in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, both states carried by now-President Joe Biden in 2020, as the best way to gird against losses elsewhere.
“With the statewide recount officially concluded, it’s time to focus on how high the stakes are in November,” Oz said in a statement Wednesday.
“I look forward to continuing my campaign across our great Commonwealth to earn the support of Pennsylvanians that want someone who will stand up to the liberal Biden-Fetterman agenda leading to higher gas prices, record inflation, and unprecedented levels of violent crime,” he added.
Oz’s campaign had faced a slate of attacks over his reversals on abortion rights, which he once said he supported and now says he opposes, and his Turkish citizenship and service in the Turkish military.
While his primary bid was bolstered by an endorsement from Trump, who campaigned for him days before the election, the Pennsylvania race exposed fractures within the GOP, with the former President endorsing a candidate who was seen as more moderate than other contenders.
Kathy Barnette, the conservative commentator whose full-throated embrace of everything Trump stood for drew supporters who were not enamored with Oz, finished third with about 25% of the vote.
Beyond the Senate contest, the commonwealth is also hosting a crucial governor’s race that pits Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who has embraced Trump’s lies about the 2020 presidential election, against Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has defended the state’s election procedures — with the winner gaining the power to appoint the secretary of state who will take control of Pennsylvania’s election machinery in time for the 2024 presidential contest.
This story has been updated with additional information Wednesday.
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CNN’s Eric Bradner contributed to this report.