Businessman David McCormick conceded the race to Oz on Friday, NBC News reported. The May 17 primary election triggered an automatic recount, which was underway when McCormick conceded. NBC News has not yet projected a winner of the race.
Oz will face Democratic nominee John Fetterman in November.
Former President Donald Trump tossed Oz a late endorsement last month, giving the candidate a much-needed boost.
The Oz campaign got off to a rocky start, with critics noting he’d been living in New Jersey for several years and only became a registered Pennsylvania voter in 2020 by using an in-law’s address.
On top of that, he entered the race having espoused a slew of crackpot health theories, and I’m not just talking about the unproven health claims he’s made on his show. As I wrote late last year, Oz embraced some right-wing rhetoric about the pandemic, particularly with his claims that officials implementing Covid safety measures “took away our freedom.” He was also forced to apologize after calling on schools to reopen in the midst of the pandemic, claiming it would “only cost us 2 to 3 percent, in terms of total mortality.”
Oz also faced criticism from fellow Republicans in the race over his initial decision not to renounce his Turkish citizenship if he were elected. McCormick led the charge railing against Oz’s decision until the doctor begrudgingly vowed to renounce his Turkish citizenship in the event he won the Senate seat in November.
And make no mistake: Oz winning in November is a possibility. The GOP race was a parade of right-wing scoundrels, yes, but there’s no guarantee Pennsylvania votes blue this November. Joe Biden defeated Trump by just over 1 percentage point in the 2020 election, which amounted to around 80,000 votes. But midterm turnout is often smaller than presidential election turnout.
There’s no evidence to suggest Oz would be even a serviceable politician. But for now, he’s a viable one.