One minute, it’s Mehmet Oz over Dave McCormick. Then next, it’s McCormick over Oz.
Back and forth it goes. What a night it was. It was like watching a tennis match at match point.
As of 12:45 PM this morning, the celebrity doctor leads the hedge fund CEO, 31.3 to 31.1 percent, with Kathy Barnette third at 24.8 percent. That works out to a 2,400-vote difference in 1.3 million cast.
Everyone wants to know two things:
1. How many votes are still out there?
2. Will the Commonwealth call for a recount?
The answer to #2 first. If the final result is within 0.5 percentage points, yes, there will be a mandated recount.
The answer to the first question is a little more complicated.
Let’s take a look at data from the 10 largest GOP counties in the Commonwealth.
Allegheny County (261,614 registered voters)
According to the County elections website, 12,736 of 19,047 GOP vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots have been returned and processed. McCormick holds a 6,700-vote lead over Oz with 97 percent of the precincts reporting, including a 2,450-vote advantage in mail-in ballots. There are still 32 precincts with partial reports and one that has not reported at all (McKeesport 1). The New York Times (NYT) estimates there are 7,000 remaining votes.
Montgomery County (204,427 registered voters)
According to the County elections website, 62,871 of the 64,217 VBM ballots returned have been counted with 420 pending evaluation. Barnette has a 4,900-vote lead over Oz in a duel of candidates who listed Montco as their home county. She received 594 more VBM ballots than McCormick and nearly 1,400 more than Oz. NYT estimates there are 4,000 remaining votes.
Bucks County (194,092)
According to the County elections website, Oz holds a 4,800-vote advantage over McCormick with all precincts reporting. McCormick has a 770-vote lead in VBM ballots. The website indicates that all ballots are partially reported. NYT estimates there are 4,000 remaining votes.
Lancaster County (176,726)
The County announced Tuesday that due to a ballot printing error, approximately 14,000 VBM ballots could not be optically scanned and must be recreated. The County elections website indicated that Barnette holds a 2,900-vote advantage in the in-person balloting over McCormick and 3,200 over Oz. NYT estimates there are 5,000 remaining votes, although we know there are more.
York County (158,317)
According to the County elections website, all 161 precincts have reported. Oz holds a 2,500-vote lead over McCormick which includes 13 more VBM ballots. NYT estimates there are 1,000 remaining votes.
Chester County (151,054)
According to the County elections website, all 230 precincts have partially reported with McCormick leading Oz by 2,000 votes. All but 1,300 VBM ballots have been counted. NYT estimates there are 1,000 remaining votes.
Delaware County (150,548)
According to the County elections website, all 428 precincts have turned in memory cards for processing. McCormick leads Oz by 1,400 votes, including a 750-vote difference in VBM. Over 31,000 VBM ballots were mailed out with over 25,000 returned. NYT estimates there are 3,000 remaining votes.
Westmoreland County (119,927)
According to the County elections website, McCormick leads Oz by 242 votes which is bolstered by a 720-vote bulge in VBM. The county reports that all 307 precincts have completely reported. NYT estimates there are less than 1,000 remaining votes.
Philadelphia County (117,791)
According to the County elections website, Philadelphia is still awaiting reports from 59 of its 1,703 total divisions. Oz holds a commanding 3,500-vote lead over McCormick. NYT estimates there are 1,000 remaining votes.
Berks County (109,063)
Berks County announced it had an issue with its ePollbooks from ES&S Tuesday morning and needed a court order to extend in-person voting by an hour. According to its County elections website, all 202 precincts are reported and Barnette leads Oz by 680 votes with McCormick trailing by 1,900. The website states that the results may not include all VBM ballots. NYT estimates there are 2,000 remaining votes.
The New York Times estimates there are 22,000 remaining voters among the top 10 Republican counties in the Commonwealth. The Department of State indicates there are approximately 33,000 VBM ballots left to count. McCormick holds a lead in at least six of those counties when looking at vote-by-mail results to date. Will that be enough to lift the native of Bloomsburg across the finish line?
With Oz currently in the lead by 2,400 votes, one thing is clear. We won’t know the final outcome for a few days and maybe longer, as a recount trigger appears likely.