The Republican National Committee is stepping in against David McCormick’s campaign lawsuit trying to force an undated absentee vote count in the Pennsylvania Senate primary, as his opponent, famed heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, led by a small part of a percentage.
An RNC official confirmed the reports of interference at Fox News Digital Monday night, insisting that the move did not indicate Oz’s support or opposition to McCormick, but rather an attempt to preserve the integrity of the election.
“The GNC is interfering in this lawsuit along with the Pennsylvania Republican Party because election laws must be followed, and changing the rules when votes are actually counted is detrimental to the integrity of our elections,” Matt Reimer, a senior advisor to the RNC, said in a statement.
Reimer added, “None of the leading Republican candidates in the Pennsylvania Senate will represent Keystone better than the Democrat, but Pennsylvania law is clear that undated absentee votes may not count.” “This is another example of the RNC’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that the highest standards of transparency and security are adhered to throughout the electoral process.”
The Pennsylvania Republican Party also condemned the move. “While the Pennsylvania Republican Party looks to support the Pennsylvania Republican nominee in the Senate, whoever he is, we fully object to the undated mail vote count,” the party said in a statement. “Pennsylvania law and our courts have been very clear about not counting undated ballots.”
McCormick’s campaign filed the lawsuit in Pennsylvania court hours later Monday, with the goal of ensuring counties comply with a federal appeals court ruling requiring the state’s Commonwealth Court to require counties to sort mail ballots that lack a handwritten date on return. Envelopes.
In the lawsuit, the McCormick campaign alleged that at least two counties — Blair and Allegheny — suggested that votes not be counted as part of the unofficial result that each county must file to the state on Tuesday.
As of 6 p.m. Monday, Oz, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, led McCormick by 992 (0.07%) of 1,341,037 votes. The race is likely close enough to trigger Pennsylvania’s automatic recount law, which applies within the law’s 0.5% margin.
It remains unclear how many mail-order ballots lack a handwritten note. And while McCormick, the former hedge fund CEO and former Treasury official in the George W. Bush administration, is late in the public vote, he has outperformed Oz on mail-in ballots.
McCormick said “every Republican vote should count” in his appearance on a conservative talk show in Philadelphia on Monday.
“The assumption we have to have, I think, as Republicans is that all Republican votes matter, and that’s something, I think we all stick to as a principle,” McCormick said. “And that is the principle that we uphold here. We held that principle before this court ruling. This ruling of the court has shed light on the matter even more.”
The campaign lawsuit filed regarding Friday’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which ruled that a state election law requirement to set a date after a voter signs external return envelopes is “immaterial.”
Oz campaign manager Casey Counter denounced McCormick’s legal team in a statement Saturday.
Contras noted that McCormick is “likely to be short” and claimed that “McCormick’s legal team is following the Democrats’ playbook, a tactic that could have serious long-term consequences for elections in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
“Dr. Mehmet Oz continues to respectfully allow the vote counting process to take place in Pennsylvania and places his trust in the Republican voters who we believe chose him as their candidate,” Contreiss added. “This is why our campaign will oppose McCormick’s legal team’s request that election boards disregard both the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and state election law and accept legally invalid ballots.”
Democratic attorney Mark Elias, who represented Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and pushed a multistate challenge against voter identification laws, appeared to defend McCormick’s case.
“My team was actually working on the same lawsuit for the November elections,” Elias said on Twitter.